|Subject: RT: Horta says no reprisals in independent
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 1999 12:09:16 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Horta says no reprisals in independent East Timor 03:57 a.m. Jul 20, 1999 Eastern
SYDNEY, June 20 (Reuters) - Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta said on Tuesday Indonesians in East Timor should not fear reprisals if the territory voted for independence, but added an immediate Indonesian withdrawal would not harm the territory.
Ramos-Horta also scoffed at the suggestion East Timor would fall apart if Indonesian civil servants fled after independence, saying the civil service is ``extremely corrupt and incompetent'' and ``they send the very worst of the worst'' to East Timor.
``They (Indonesians) should not fear reprisals. I would do my upmost to ensure nothing would happen to Indonesia's legitimate interests in East Timor,'' Ramos-Horta told Australian radio.
``If they want to withdraw immediately...they can do it, we have no objections,'' Ramos-Horta said. ``We will applaud with flowers and music when they decide to leave.''
On Monday, pro-independence activists released what they said was an Indonesian document outlining evacuation plans if East Timor opts for independence in the August ballot.
The document also said Jakarta expects renewed violence if East Timorese vote for independence and the government might find it hard to withdraw if opponents of independence mounted armed opposition.
Ramos-Horta, a long-time East Timorese independence activist, said if East Timor voted to break away from Indonesia, pro-Jakarta forces would be invited to join a U.N.-transition administration along with independence leaders.
``If independence prevails, we will call a conference on national reconciliation and power sharing,'' Ramos-Horta said.
``Independence will not come about immediately -- we would have a three-year transition and a U.N. administration. Pro-integration leaders will be invited to take part in the administration of East Timor,'' he said.
``We would work very hard on reconciliation with the pro-integration faction in East Timor.''
The alleged Indonesian evacuation document detailed a plan to move Indonesian civil servants to East Nusa Tenggara province, which includes the western half of Timor island.
Ramos-Horta said that if Indonesian civil servants fled East Timor it would not cause economic chaos in the tiny territory.
``I find it laughable and amusing that they try to make us think we are so desperate, that if Indonesian civil servants were to leave, East Timor would fall apart,'' Ramos-Horta said.
``The Indonesian public service is not the best in the world, it is extremely corrupt and incompetent. In the case of East Timor, tragically, they send the very worst of the worst they have in Indonesia,'' he said.
``For two decades East Timor has been thoroughly mismanaged by Indonesia. We just have to remember what the central government has done to its own country, throughly mismanaged the Indonesian economy,'' he said.
Earlier this month, Jakarta said Indonesia did not anticipate that its forces would remain in East Timor for more than a few weeks or months should East Timorese reject Jakarta's offer of wide-ranging autonomy within Indonesia.
The referendum was expected to take place on August 21 or 22, depending on the security situation, under a May agreement between Indonesia and Lisbon, the former colonial power.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 after Portugal withdrew. Around 200,000 East Timorese have died of war, famine and disease under Indonesian rule. Dozens have been killed in attacks mainly blamed on pro-Jakarta forces ahead of the referendum.