=Subject: FEER: Megawati's party vows to scrap E. Timor referendum
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 09:03:56 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:



Timor Turnaround

By John McBeth

Just when it seemed East Timor was finally on course to settle its future, a new obstacle has emerged. A senior member of the opposition party led by Megawati Sukarnoputri says it will try to scrap plans for a referendum on the province's future if it wins the June 7 national parliamentary elections.

The warning came only hours after President B.J. Habibie reassured Australian Prime Minister John Howard that a United Nations-supervised ballot on the future of the former Portuguese colony, which was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, would go ahead on August 8. The ballot will determine whether the East Timorese accept an autonomy package or opt to separate from Indonesia.

But Dimyati Hartono, vice-chairman of Megawati's Indonesian Democratic Party for Struggle, told the REVIEW that a transitional figure like Habibie should never have sought to overturn a People's Consultative Assembly decision on Indonesia's territorial integrity.

Calling the 1978 decision to integrate the former Portuguese colony into Indonesia a "final solution," Dimyati declared: "We will renegotiate . . . We will go back to our constitution." Megawati herself has frequently voiced opposition to East Timorese independence.

The armed-forces chief, Gen. Wiranto, attended the Habibie-Howard meeting in an apparent sign that the military is committed to supporting the ballot. But the intransigence of Megawati's party and a failure to agree on the disarmament of pro-integration and pro-independence forces injects a new uncertainty.

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