Subject: AFP: East Timorese factions to resume church-mediated dialogue in Australia
Date: Sat, 15 May 1999 11:26:03 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

East Timorese factions to resume church-mediated dialogue in Australia

JAKARTA, May 15 (AFP) - The two Roman Catholic bishops of troubled East Timor plan to organise the second dialogue between the territory's pro-Indonesia and pro-independence leaders in Australia later this month, a report said Saturday. Manuel Abrantes, who heads the dialogue's organising committee, told Antara news agency the "reconciliation dialogue", the second after one held in the East Timor capital Dili in September, is due to be held in Australia on May 22-29.

The first dialogue -- known as the "Dare dialogue" after the Dare seminary in which it was held -- was facilitated by the territory's two bishops, Nobel Laureate Carlos Ximenes Felipe Belo and Basilio do Nascimento.

Abrantes said the plan for the dialogue had received the support of the United Nations special envoy for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker.

East Timorese will vote in a UN-supervised ballot on August 8 on whether to accept Indonesia's autonomy offer or to become independent. But violence, especially by pro-Jakarta militiamen, has been growing in the territory before the vote.

Abrantes said 11 representatives of each side would attend the dialogue along with another 19 public figures to be agreed by both factions. Organizers would also invite observers from Indonesia and overseas.

Among those invited from the Indonesian military were the Chief for Strategic Affairs, Lieutenant General Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the head of the Udayana military commander that oversees security in East Timor, Major General Adam Damir.

Also invited were Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Jakarta's envoy to Canberra Wiryono, President's Habibie's advisor on foreign policies Dewi Fortuna Anwar and members of the National Commission on Human Rights.

Invitations will also be sent to the chairmen of Indonesia's two largest Islamic groups, the Nahdatul Ulama and the Muhammadiyah, Indonesian Roman Catholic Cardinal Julius Darmaatmaja, the head of the Indonesian Bishops' Council Joseph Suwatan and the Bishop of Portugal.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas on Friday began briefing representatives of pro- and anti-independence factions on the autonomy package to be offered to East Timor.

The two-day briefing is being held in the resort island of Bali.

Attending were leaders of both factions, the Jakarta-appointed Governor of East Timor Jose Osorio Abilio Soares, the heads of the East Timor police and military and Indonesia's ambassador for East Timor affairs, Fransisco Xavier Lopes da Cruz.

The deputy chairman of the pro-independence National Resistance Council of East Timor, Leandro Isaac, flew out of Dili on Friday under heavy police guard, an AFP photographer said.

Isaac has been under police protection since the day after pro-Indonesian militia went on an unchecked rampage in Dili, burning the houses of known pro-independence activists including Isaac and killing 21.

Antara said the pro-Indonesia faction in Bali was represented by 29 people while the rival camp had 31 participants.

Violence has escalated since Jakarta announced in January that it may let go East Timor if the people there reject the autonomy offer.

The signing of the autonomy agreement between Indonesia and Portugal at the United Nations on May 5 and a military-initiated peace pact between the two camps have failed to end the bloodshed.

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 but its troops have been unable to stamp out a guerrilla resistance movement.

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