|Subject: RT: East Timor vote may be delayed again -
Date: Sat, 24 Jul 1999 12:24:52 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
East Timor vote may be delayed again - Ramos-Horta.
MANILA, July 24 (Reuters) - Exiled East Timor rebel Jose Ramos-Horta said on Saturday security problems might once again delay the former Portuguese colony's scheduled vote on independence from Indonesia.
But the territory's senior resistance leader said he would support the United Nations if it decided on a fresh postponement of the ballot, which is scheduled for August 21.
The U.N. sponsored ballot in the former Portuguese colony, originally set for August 8, has been delayed two weeks because of bloody campaigns against independence by pro-Jakarta militias. Voters can choose between independence or wide-ranging autonomy within Indonesia, which invaded East Timor in 1975.
"I have no information of any sort that the ballot will be postponed again but if the conditions do not change in the next days...then the U.N. will have no choice but to postpone again," Ramos-Horta said at a news conference after arriving in Manila from Australia.
"The security condition in the territory remains extremely precarious," said Ramos-Horta, who was previously banned from entering the Philippines.
"I have the fullest confidence in the judgment of the secretary general of the United Nations and his representatives on the ground. Whatever they decide...I would endorse it."
Ramos-Horta said the Indonesian government had failed to provide security in the territory ahead of the vote.
"It has not disarmed the militias, it has not arrested those who (were) responsible for killings in East Timor . The population continued to be intimidated, terrorised."
Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said he planned to discuss with Philippine authorities and other groups in the country "future cooperation between East Timor and the Philippines."
Ramos-Horta will have meetings with Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, one of the leading figures in the overthrow of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos 13 years ago, and with Foreign Affairs Secretary Rodolfo Siazon.
Ramos-Horta said he had been banned from visiting the Philippines in previous years "because of pressures from the Indonesian government."
The Philippines and East Timor are predominantly Catholic nations.
Jakarta has asked the Philippines and other countries - the United States, Britain, Australia, Japan and Germany - to send police to act as advisers for Indonesian police ahead of the East Timor vote.