|Subject: Xanana statement on current situation, UN
Date: Sat, 08 May 1999 09:24:26 -0400
From: Charles Scheiner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The following statement was issued by Xanana Gusmao in Jakarta on 4 May, 1999.
CNRT Timor-Leste xanana gusmao
East Timor is facing a delicate and crucial moment of its history.
East Timor has been on the UN agenda since December 1975. The UN General Assembly and the Security Council adopted strongly worded resolutions demanding total, immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the invading Indonesian army and recognising the right of the East Timorese People to self-determination and national independence.
However, in 1984, negotiations were initiated between Portugal and Indonesia, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. The period of 15 long years of frustration and failures that followed further highlights the unquestionable importance and the decisive nature of the upcoming meeting in New York.
May 5 means that a new road has been paved; one that leads to the implementation of an international mechanism and that will end the illegal situation in the territory, which lasted for 23 and a half years.
We want to believe that the Indonesian government will not seek further reasons, as it has done before, to delay the signing of the agreement.
During the recent months, the People of East Timor endured extreme hardship in a situation of permanent intimidation, terror and, worse, cold-blooded massacres.
We recall the Bali summit where, once again, the Indonesian government publicised it's commitment to the international community to abide by the agreed dates (May 5 and August 8), to implement a peaceful and democratic process and, above all, to respect the outcome of the consultation.
The major question lies with the security mechanisms to be implemented. When the Dili peace pact was signed, on April 21, four traditional weapons were symbolically handed back to general Wiranto. The Mausers, G3s, SKSs and M-16s remain in the hands of the armed civilian militia groups which, with ABRI's support, continue to threaten the population and force them to sign their allegiance to integration.
To consider ABRI as a neutral force is a historical aberration in this long lasting problem of East Timor. We cannot but hope that the international community can fathom the scope of such an aberration.
It is therefore of vital importance that, immediately after the agreement is signed, the UN establishes a permanent presence in the territory to implement the mechanisms which will guarantee the population the gradual return to a peaceful environment.
I wish to seize this opportunity to address the international humanitarian organisations and appeal for an urgent campaign to assist the population in East Timor which have had their homes and belongings destroyed and burnt down by murderous gangs. The population was forced to abandon the fields and flee from threat and violence. There is need for immediate food assistance, for clothing and medicines.
The hope of the East Timorese People is that the International Community will continue to demand an end to this inhuman violence, that the universal principles of democracy and justice be respected and that dialogue be chosen as the path in conflict resolution.
Salemba, May 4 1999
Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao