Subject: IO: Indonesian envoy meets anti-independence activists
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 1999 09:14:28 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Indonesian Observer 22nd March 1999 Nation Envoy meets anti-independence activists

JAKARTA (IO) — Indonesia’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Makarim Wibisono, has advised members of a pro-Indonesian group of East Timorese to explain the government’s wide-ranging autonomy offer to the rest of the troubled territory’s residents.

In a dialog with the executive board of the Forum for Unity, Democracy and Justice (FPDK) in Dili on Saturday, Wibisono said the people of East Timor should fully understand the autonomy offer, before they vote on their future.

The UN plans to hold a direct vote in East Timor in July, during which residents will decide whether to accept the autonomy offer or secede from Indonesia.

Wibisono said he hoped the FPDK members will help all East Timorese analyze the positive or negative aspects of the autonomy offer.

"I wish to know the FPDK’s readiness in the face of the vote, which the UN plans to conduct in July. This readiness is very important because the time available to consult [with the East Timorese people] is very short," he was quoted as saying by Antara.

Wibisono said consultations are very important as they will allow the international community to ascertain whether the East Timorese people are serious about resolving their territory’s problems, which have been on the UN’s agenda for 23 years.

Indonesia, which invaded the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1975, earlier this year announced it would grant the territory independence if most its people reject the wide-ranging autonomy offer.

FPKD General Chairman Domingos M.D. Soares said his group has begun to introduce the main concepts of the autonomy offer to locals, but needs more detailed information for further dissemination, so that people will arrive at a common perception.

"We ourselves have so far not received anything explaining the concept in more specific detail, so we have not been able to give the public a clearer idea about it. Therefore, the Foreign Affairs Ministry should not take too long to send us the required material," he said.

Soares expressed hope the political elite of the pro-Indonesian East Timorese would unite their visions and tactics to avoid conducting individual struggles.

He said the FPDK rejects the idea of a people’s vote, because the East Timor issue should be resolved by the UN through talks with Indonesia and Portugal.

Soares said that if the UN decides autonomy is the best solution, it should implement it without first consulting with the East Timorese.

Wibisono told Antara he was greatly impressed by the FPDK’s views and its plan to inform the East Timorese people about the autonomy offer.

"I have the impression the FPDK will be the backbone of efforts to communicate the autonomy concept to the East Timorese people."

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