Subject: AFP: Warring East Timor factions sign disarmament accord
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 14:44:30 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Warring East Timor factions sign disarmament accord

JAKARTA, June 18 (AFP) - The warring pro-independence and pro-Indonesia factions in East Timor signed a set of agreements here Friday under which they agreed to call on their followers to disarm ahead of a vote on the province's future, witnesses said.

The three accords, stipulating that weapons be handed over to the Indonesian police, were signed at the justice ministry in Jakarta by jailed independence leader Xanana Gusmao and Leandro Isaac for the pro-independence side.

Signing for the pro-Indonesia side were Joao Tavares and Domingo Soares, who along with Gusmao and Isaac are members of the Peace and Stability Commission (KPS) charged under an accord with the United Nations with disarming the sides before the August poll.

Witnesses were from the church and the government in the former Portuguese colony which was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, as well as from the United Nations.

Several diplomats in Jakarta close to the East Timor vote process, expressed scepticism, saying there was no date mentioned in the text and a similar accord in March was never honored.

"It could be seen as window-dressing for Marker," said one observer refering to the expected arrival here over the weekend of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's special representative on East Timor Jamsheed Marker.

The agreement documents, signed at 6:00 p.m. (1100 GMT), gave no date for the implemetation of the accords.

But at a press conference later at the defence ministry Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto (Eds: one name) said they would take effect between June 20 and July 5.

Wiranto also justified Jakarta's decision to bar Gusmao from returning to East Timor for the vote by saying: "Xanana Gusmao is in Jakarta but his instructions, orders reach all the way to East Timor and hopefully it will be obeyed by his members."

Gusmao, who attended the press conference, said when asked if he was confident the accords would be honored, "I hope ... not just both sides but all parties" an apparent reference to the Indonesian military.

"I think this is the first step to create a peaceful situation in Timor Lorosae (The Timorese name for East Timor). It is not as easy as you might imagine," he said.

The vote on the territory's future -- to be conducted by the United Nations -- is scheduled to take place on August 8, although there have been strong indications the security situation will force a delay.

An official of the KPS present at the signing said the three agreements consisted of a code of conduct, a mutual agreement on the process of the polling and a mutual call for the surrender of arms.

Their signatories were identified as the pro-independence Council for the Resistance in East Timor (CNRT) and its armed wing the Falintil headed by Gusmao, and the pro-Indonesia side and all its affiliated organizations.

The main clause read: "We have agreed together to call for all followers from the CNRT as well as the Falintil as well as the pro-integration side and all their following organizations to lay down all forms of arms, firearms, grenades, explosives as well as traditional arms, bows and arrows, spears to the proper authorities."

It said the proper authorities were "the (Indonesian) national police under the surveillance of the KPS," a body set up by the military and involving both sides on April 21, with the participation of the church, the government and the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights.

Sources close to the negotiations said earlier the pro-independence faction had wanted to hand weapons over to the UN.

The police, under an agreement signed by Indonesia and Portugal with the UN in May, are responsible for security for the August 8 vote in which East Timorese will choose between independence or autonomy within Indonesia.

Rights groups and diplomats have accused the Indonesian police and military of backing pro-Indonesian militia in attacks on supporters of independence.

Other clauses called for a ceasefire in the form of "agreeing to stop all forms of enmity and violence or other legal violations against anyone or group in accordance with existing regulations and laws."

Both sides would also "call and invite all followers to participate actively in the ballot processes, from the registration period to voting in accordance with their rights and obligations."

The two sides would also "agree to refer all violations of the agreement to the commission for peace and stability (KPS) to be forwarded to the authority."

Back to June Menu
Human Rights Violations in East Timor
Main Postings Menu
June '98 through February '99