|Subject: SMH: Ramos Horta vows to return to Timor
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 10:38:16 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Sydney Morning Herald 10/06/99
Ramos Horta vows to return to Timor
By DEBORAH CAMERON
Mr Jose Ramos Horta, East Timor's independence spokesman, has told the United Nations he will fly to Dili next month, ending more than 23 years of exile that began just ahead of Indonesia's paratroop and marine invasion of the territory's tiny capital.
Mr Ramos Horta, vice-president of the National Council of Timorese Resistance and co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel peace prize with Timor's Bishop Carlos Belo, said yesterday that provided he could find a plane and a pilot to fly it, he would go around July 10.
"I have indicated [to the United Nations] that whether Indonesia likes it or not, whether they are going to give clearance or not, a plane will take off from Australia around that time," he said.
He had told the UN representative in Dili, Mr Ian Martin, that he would "force the issue" with Indonesia because he wanted to participate in the determination of East Timor's future as an independent state or an autonomous province of Indonesia, to be resolved in a UN-sponsored poll on August 8.
In a scheduled meeting with the Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, in Canberra today, he will warn Australia of severe consequences if the UN poll is compromised or called off.
"If things fall apart ... all deals will be off and we will fight with determination and creativity and this time around the cost to Indonesia will be enormous," he said.
He fired a warning shot towards leading presidential contender Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri, who has been equivocal about independence for East Timor.
"Either Megawati changes her views or we will fight her," Mr Ramos Horta said. "We fought Soeharto for 23 years and we are not going to be intimidated by the lady if she thinks she can reverse the current process. We are quite determined, let there be no mistake."
Mr Ramos Horta said his return to East Timor would be emotional and symbolic. "It is a moment of extraordinary meaning in my long struggle," he said.
"...But for the Indonesian Army it is a matter of embarrassment, a slap in the face, and that's why they find if very difficult to allow me to return because they have demonised me." The leader of the East Timorese resistance, Xanana Gusmao, still under house arrest in Jakarta, also wanted to travel to East Timor before August 8, he said.