|Subject: AFP: Gusmao, Ramos Horta discuss security
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:45:54 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Gusmao, Ramos Horta discuss security with Indonesian military chief
JAKARTA, July 5 (AFP) - Pro-independence Timorese leaders Xanana Gusmao and Jose Ramos Horta met Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto here Monday to discuss the precarious security situation in East Timor ahead of a vote on self-determination.
The hour-long meeting in Wiranto's office came a day after a pro-Indonesian militia attacked a civilian aid convoy in the troubled territory, drawing sharp protests from the United Nations mission (UNAMET) charged with conducting the vote.
An agreement that both sides lay down their weapons had been one of the important topics discussed, Wiranto said after the meeting in his Jakarta office.
"To secure the UNAMET personnel, there are no problems with the Indonesian side. We are with them in carrying out the polls. The insecurity ... depends on the two of them, the anti-integration and the pro-integration (sides)," he said.
"I said to Xanana Gusmao: 'Do you want safety ... then immediately relinquish all arms."
Neither of the two sides in East Timor has so far agreed to lay down their arms, apart from a token handover in April by pro-integration militia.
But Wiranto said it must be done soon and gave assurances that the Indonesian police would remain neutral.
"There should be no worry that the military and the police will act neutrally, perhaps (we can) change a 20-year-old attitude where the Falintil (the armed wing of the independence movement) and our army continue to be involved in some kind of fight."
Gusmao, the head of the National Resistence Council for East Timor (CNRT), who is serving a 20-year jail term on charges of armed insurrection, said the "Falintil will work hard to help in the agreement on June 18 to create a peaceful and stable climate in East Timor."
"I can say that we came out of the meeting with a faith, a faith that all parties will work together to solve the problem of East Timor," said Gusmao who was released from his jail house for the meeting.
"The most important thing is that there's a willingness from all parties to reduce (the violence) and create a more peaceful situation," he added.
Ramos Horta, the Nobel laureate Timorese independence crusader who was granted a visa to Indonesia for the first time in 23 years to attend talks between the warring factions, told reporters he was satisfied with the meeting with Wiranto, but that it was up to him to control the pro-Indonesian militia.
"I'm satisfied, We're satisfied with the assurances by the minister that TNI (the armed forces) will live up to their responsibilities under the New York agreement to provide security for the ... UNAMET and so on," he said.
Ramos Horta was refering to the agreement reached by Portugal and Indonesia in May under which the unarmed UN mission will conduct the vote on autonomy or independence, and the Indonesian police will be responsible for security.
"Of course we discussed the issue of credibility of the TNI that is at stake because of the actions of the (pro-Indonesia) militia. The militia actions in East Timor are in contrast to the minister of defence's position.
"It's up to the defence minister to make sure the acts of the militia end, so that the words of the military leader can be trusted," he added.
Asked about a report that Australia was prepared to send 2,500 troops to East Timor to bail out UNAMET if the situation deteriorated drastically, Wiranto said "That is between Australia and the UN."
Australian defence minister John Moore was quoted as saying that Australia would only act if requested by the United Nations and with the knowledge of the Indonesian government if the need for an evacuation arose.