Subject: Irish Times: Resistance leader calls for international help
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 05:59:35 EDT

Irish Times [Dublin] Friday, August 27, 1999

Resistance leader calls for peace in E Timor

Xanana Gusmao called for international help after yesterday's violence, Conor O'Clery reports from Jakarta

INDONESIA/EAST TIMOR: The Leader of the East Timor resistance movement, Mr Xanana Gusmao, appealed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrews, in Jakarta yesterday evening to urge the international community to send an armed peacekeeping force to East Timor immediately to prevent further bloodshed.

Mr Gusmao was in sombre mood, having had just heard the news of yesterday's violence in the East Timor capital Dili before Mr Andrews arrived to meet him at the house in the Jakarta suburbs where he is under house arrest.

"They must stop treating the people of East Timor as animals," the leader of the FALANTIL resistance told the Minister for Foreign Affairs. He said he would appeal to the supporters of independence in the former Portuguese colony not to retaliate for yesterday's violence, in which at least five people were killed.

"I am about to address the people of East Timor to remain calm," he said. "Above all FALANTIL should not respond. They must not react with their emotions."

He emphasised to Mr Andrews, however, the need for the deployment of an armed international peacekeeping force. "The information I am getting today leads me to appeal for a military presence in East Timor right now," he said. Under the agreement on East Timor's future involving the United Nations, Indonesia and Portugal, the Indonesian armed forces will remain in control of East Timor security until the Indonesian parliament meeting in November to endorse the outcome of the ballot.

The UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) consists of just over 1,000 unarmed personnel who will stay on after the referendum.

Yesterday's violence has heightened fears that civil war could break out after a pro-independence vote, provoked by militias armed and trained by elements of the Indonesian army.

Mr Andrews is travelling to Dili tomorrow as the representative of the EU Presidency to observe Monday's vote, when the people will be asked to choose between autonomy and independence. He undertook to raise Mr Gusmao's concerns with the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Alatas, whom he will meet today in Jakarta.

Despite the violence, Mr Andrews and his party of officials from Ireland and Finland - which currently holds the EU presidency - have made no change in their plans to spend at least three days in the territory. Due to a shortage of hotel accommodation the party will stay in a private rented house in Dili.

Mr Andrews's meeting with Mr Gusmao took place in a small reception room with a crucifix and two Sacred Heart pictures on the wall in the fenced-off house in a bustling Jakarta side street. The Falantil leader, who hopes to be released after the referendum result is known, conducted the interview in Portuguese through an interpreter.

Mr Gusmao impressed upon Mr Andrews his belief that the Indonesian side was unwilling to stop the violence and show good will. The EU, he said, should make clear to the Indonesian government and the international community the unaccept ability of the police and militia actions in East Timor.

"They are doing exactly what they did in April," he said, referring to the killings of 20 people in Dili during Mr Andrews's first visit to East Timor.

Yesterday's meeting with Mr Gusmao was interrupted in dramatic fashion when a message arrived from a priest in Dili that 10 people had been killed and 10 injured in the violence.

Mr Andrews said he would report what he observed in East Timor to the European foreign ministers in Helsinki next weekend. He would even be prepared to travel to New York to report to the UN Secretary General, Mr Kofi Annan. He stressed: "The people of East Timor on whatever side are not on their own." Mr Gusmao replied: "Our people need all the support we can get. Sometimes on the ground my people feel rather defenceless. We have to correct the process. And put an end to the violence."

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