|Subject: AFP: Gusmao calls for peace, slams
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 08:39:19 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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*E Timor rebel leader calls for peace, slams pro-Indonesian warmongers
JAKARTA, March 2 (AFP) - East Timor rebel leader Xanana Gusmao Tuesday called for reconciliation in the troubled territory ahead of a decision on independence and slammed pro-Indonesians seeking arms from Jakarta.
"There will be no solution whatsoever if East Timorese reject peace and are not ready for reconciliation. It's the responsibility of all of us to maintain peace," Gusmao told a press conference in his detention house in central Jakarta.
Gusmao also condemned a group of pro-Indonesian East Timorese, currently staying in Jakarta, and accused them of being paid by "an unknown party" to wage war against pro-independence East Timorese.
"They have been staying in a five-star hotel for one month but they cry out declaring war. I take pity on them," Gusmao said of the group.
He named members of the group as Armindo Soares, Domingos Soares and Policarpo (Eds: one name), and said they had visited Indonesian armed forces commander General Wiranto (Eds: one name) to demand arms.
Gusmao, who is serving a 20-year sentence for armed rebellion, blamed clashes between pro- and anti-Indonesian East Timorese, which have claimed several lives in the past month, on a "third party" which he called the SGI (Intelligence Task Force). But he did not elaborate.
Tensions have been rising in East Timor since Indonesia announced on January 27 that it would consider independence for the territory should its residents reject a broad autonomy offer. Groups in favour or against independence have been consolidating their forces.
Jakarta unilaterally annexed East Timor in 1976 after the military invaded the former Portuguese colony the previous year. The UN and most other countries did not recognize the move and view Portugal as the official administrator in the territory.
The United Nations since 1984 has mediated talks between Indonesia and Portugal to discuss East Timor, and the two sides are scheduled to meet in New York March 10 to finalize the autonomy offer.
On Monday the UN secretary general's special envoy on East Timor, Jamsheed Marker, called the recent flow of arms into East Timor "very disquieting" but said he felt a war could be avoided.
"I don't think there will be a civil war as such, (despite) the very disquieting reports" of an increase in arms flowing into the troubled territory, Marker told CNN television.
Marker said he based his confidence on the fact that people "of the highest calibre" were involved in determining the future of the former Portguese colony which has been under virtual military rule since being invaded by Indonesian troops in 1975.
He cited both Gusmao and Indonesian President B.J. Habibie as well as East Timorese bishops Nobel laureate Bishop Carlos Ximines Belo of Dili, and Basilio do Naciamento, bishop of Baucau as key to a relatively peaceful transition, he said.