Subject: SMH: Rebels vow not to be provoked by militias
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 11:17:36 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Sydney Morning Herald 12/05/99


Rebels vow not to be provoked by militias

By MARK DODD, Herald Correspondent in Dili, and agencies

The guns of the East Timorese armed resistance would remain silent despite desperate attempts to provoke them by pro-Indonesian militias and their Indonesian army allies, a senior pro-independence official said yesterday. "We believe the United Nations should stop the militias because if Falintil reacts [to militia provocation] the situation in East Timor will become much worse - it could explode," said Mr Venceslau Germano Pinto, a senior official of the pro-independence umbrella group, CNRT (National Council for Timorese Resistance).

But he said a desire for peace was preventing Falintil, the armed wing of the main independence movement in East Timor, from becoming actively involved in the territory.

"We want this war stopped. Falintil are obeying orders from their commander - Xanana.

"[He] wants to create a peaceful situation in East Timor, and all the commanders agree with Xanana."

In a clandestine interview with the Herald, Mr Pinto said he was delivering a message from independence leader Xanana Gusmao to supporters and CNRT officials in hiding in Dili, telling them to stay calm and resist provocation from pro-integration militias. At least three people died and eight were wounded during attacks launched by pro-Indonesian armed groups against suspected independence supporters here on Monday.

On August 8, East Timorese are due to vote in a UN-organised ballot to decide whether the territory should accept a widespread autonomy package and stay under Indonesian control or opt for independence.

In New York, a UN official said late on Monday that all UN staff to be deployed in preparation for the vote should be in place by mid June.

The 600 international UN staff would include 400 voter registration and polling officials, 15 to 18 political and civilian advisers, and various logistics, communications, information and other staff. There would be a further undetermined number of civilian police.

The precise number would be determined on the advice of a police advance team due back from East Timor next Monday. A chief of mission, expected to be named shortly, should be in East Timor by about May 20.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Alatas, has said that failure to stop continued violence in East Timor could lead to pressure from Portugal and other Western countries to deploy a UN military-backed peacekeeping force.

"What is important is that we show to the world, especially to the UN, that we can uphold security and order," Mr Alatas said after a meeting with President B.J Habibie at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Monday. - Reuters

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