|Subject: ETimorese call on ASEAN, US for support
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 08:47:47 -0500
From: ETISC <email@example.com>
E Timorese call on Asean, US for support The Nation, March 5, 1999 By Rita Patiyasevi
BANGKOK -- PRO-INDEPENDENCE East Timorese academics yesterday called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the United States to morally support the territory's right to self-determination.
Antonio Cardoso, East Timor University's lecturer from the Social and Political Science Faculty, said if the ongoing talks between Indonesia and Portugal in New York this week did not result in immediate independence, then the international community should support the call for a referendum.
He said US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is visiting Indonesia this week, should exert influence on Jakarta to respect the United Nations resolution which never recognised Indonesia's annexation of East Timor as its 27th province following the invasion on Dec 7, 1975.
Albright is also expected to meet Xanana Gusmao, president of the National Timorese Resistance Council (CNRT) and commander of the National Liberation Armed Forces of East Timor (Falintil) during her visit to Jakarta. Gusmao is under special detention in a house in Jakarta.
Cardoso, who is also general coordinator of the Hadomi Timor Foundation, said a democratic atmosphere must be prepared if a referendum is to be held. Members of the foundation are ready to help, he added.
The foundation was established last November with the aim of boosting the East Timorese economy and its people's livelihood through human and natural resource development.
''We will go knocking from door to door to help create this democratic atmosphere,'' he said, adding that a referendum was one step towards democracy.
However, a referendum must be conducted under the supervision of the United Nations and international observers, he said.
''East Timorese people do not want a civil war as intimated by the Indonesian government which does not want a referendum because it is afraid that the majority of people will call for independence rather than integration with Indonesia,'' he stated.
The academics who are on a tour to gain support from some Asean member countries said the current population of East Timor is about 800,000, including some 200,000 Indonesian migrants who came to the country legally or illegally.
Vicent Faria, another East Timor University lecturer and member of the Hadomi Timor Foundation, said the the East Timorese do not want a civil war but the situation was critical as the Indonesian Army had given arms to some pro-Indonesian groups.
He said for a conducive atmosphere towards a referendum, the Indonesian Army, the Falintil and criminal groups should lay down arms.
Last week Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta rejected as blatant hypocrisy the latest ''proposal'' by the Indonesian military commander in Dili that all armed groups should be disarmed -- Falintil ''and the gang of criminals'' -- while the Indonesian Army would remain intact in East Timor.
Ramos-Horta said in Sydney that the Falintil is as legitimate an army as the armies of national liberation that fought for independence in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, and the Indonesian Army is in the same role as the racist white South African Army in Namibia or the racist army of the white minority regime in Rhodesia.
He said Indonesia should let the territory go by January 2000 as President B J Habibie desires.
''No tears will be shed by the East Timorese people. When they finally leave, they will leave behind a country thoroughly destroyed, a society profoundly traumatised by its 23-year savage colonisation, a culture of violence, corruption and lies that were alien to the East Timorese traditional society prior to 1975,'' Ramos-Horta said.
Last month, Habibie had expressed the hope that the East Timorese people would be able to decide their position before the general elections on June 7 -- whether they want to separate from Indonesia or remain united with wide-ranging autonomy.
Subject: ffitiz - Bishop Belo - Auckland interview Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 08:49:19 -0500 From: "Maire Leadbeater" <firstname.lastname@example.org> (by way of "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>) To: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 March, 1999: New Zealand Herald
Fight for Independence Limited Autonomy for East Timor is not an option for Bishop Carlos Belo, reports Pat Baskett
New Zealand can best help the beleaguered people of East Timor by being more sympathetic to their call for full independence, says Nobel Peace prize winner Bishop Carlos Belo.
They could also work closely with any UN peacekeeping force that may be sent in, he said in Auckland yesterday.
Bishop Belo, based in the East Timor capital of Dili, is in New Zealand through the Catholic Church for a series of meetings and lectures.
He said technical expertise would be appreciated for his country.
"We have no teachers in our secondary schools, but we still have 16 indigenous doctors, so we can manage.
"But maybe we will need some doctors from New Zealand."
Indonesia's announcement that it is prepared to grant some form of autonomy to the East Timorese could signal brighter prospects.
But the offer is for a restricted form of autonomy that excludes finance, security and foreign affairs. Its terms are to be discussed at a meeting in New York next week between the Indonesian and Portuguese Foreign Ministers and the UN Secretary-General.
Bishop Belo said Indonesia expected autonomy to be ratified after some form of consultation. "But we don't know how that consultation will be carried out."
He supports the position of the Portuguese, who want a plebiscite so that all East Timorese can be consulted. That only 50% are literate is not a consideration.
"That doesn't mean that they don't understand politics."
While most East Timorese reject the possibility of autonomy, they may be forced into accepting it because Indonesia has indicated that if the offer is rejected it might simply withdraw, leaving the country to an ill-prepared, unsupported fate.
There is no suggestion of a transitional period. Bishop Belo said 10 to 15 years would be reasonable to allow East Timor to recover from 23 years of war.
"So compulsorily, we may have to accept autonomy and for Indonesia, that would be final with no other solution possible. But the people want independence."
Bishop Belo said that tensions between the pro-autonomy groups and those who want independence were such that civil war was possible " if we don't make an effort to sit down and talk."
The situation has been made more complex by the existence of groups of armed militia, alongside existing units of the Indonesian Army.
The activities of vigilante groups have so terrified people that about 6000 have left their homes and are now camped around a church.
In one incident a man was buried near a road with his head protruding.
"The life we have been experiencing is not a human life," he said. "We are continuously under oppression and surveillance. We only ask the international community to understand." Maire Leadbeater, East Timor Independence Committee, P.O. Box 68-419, Auckland, New Zealand.