|UN Press Release July 2, 1998 afternoon hearing on East Timor
DECOLONIZATION COMMITTEE IS TOLD SPIRIT OF REFORM IN INDONESIA
SHOULD LEAD TO FRESH LOOK AT SITUATION OF EAST TIMOR
Hearing of Petitioners Concluded; Most Say Large Majority of People in Territory Favour
As the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the
Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples concluded
its hearing of petitions on the question of East Timor this afternoon, it was told that
serious issues remained about whether the spirit of reform sweeping Indonesia would
include a willingness to take a fresh look at the Territory.
Christopher Smith, Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human
Rights of the Committee on International Relations of the United States House of
Representatives, in a statement presented on his behalf, said that while it was not
necessary to decide in advance what was appropriate for the Territory, it was important
that the decision be taken by the East Timorese through a fair and transparent process. If
the vast majority were happy being part of Indonesia, then officials of that country had
nothing to fear. On the other hand, if the majority still opposed Indonesian rule, then
there was little to be gained by Indonesia's continued military presence.
Eliot Hoffman, of the Australian Coalition for East Timor, said that most reports from
Timorese people visiting Australia had put support for independence as high as 95 to 99
per cent of the population. To deny the people an act of self-determination was to
subjugate and repress their legitimate aspirations. If the Indonesian Government believed
its own claims that the majority of East Timorese supported integration with Indonesia, it
would be keen to demonstrate that to the world through a prompt referendum.
Constancio Dias Pinto, of the National Resistance of East Timorese Students, said that
more than 250,000 people had been killed as a direct result of Indonesia's invasion. After
23 years of illegal occupation, the Indonesian Government argued that the Timorese were
happy because infrastructure had been developed. If that was true, the people of Poland
and Austria would have accepted Nazi Germany's annexation because of the roads that had
Frank Fitzgerald, of the East Timor-Ireland Solidarity Campaign, called on the
Indonesian Government to become the new republic which respected the wishes of its
neighbours and its own citizens; cherished the rule of law; sought compromise; and
listened to voices of an imperfect world that called for justice and peace. It must honour
the voices calling for the Timorese to be a part of the solution.
The Committee also heard statements from the representatives of Brazil and Portugal, as
well as petitions from a Member of Parliament of the Communist Party of Portugal;
representatives of Human Rights Watch/Asia; the Catholic Institute for International
Relations; the Japanese Catholic Council for Justice and Peace; the Dean of the Faculty of
Agriculture, University of East Timor; and the representatives of Forum Nusantara, the
Indonesian Students Association, and the East Timor International Support Centre of
Also this afternoon, the representatives of Indonesia and Portugal spoke in exercise of
the right of reply.
The Committee will meet again on Monday to begin consideration of the questions of the
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) and New Caledonia.
Committee Work Programme
The Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the
Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples met this
afternoon to conclude its hearing of petitioners on the question of East Timor. Before the
Committee were two Secretariat working papers on East Timor (documents A/AC.109/2111 and
BRUNO RODRIGUEZ PARILLA (Cuba), Acting Chairman, said that before continuing the
hearings on the question of East Timor, the representative of Brazil would make a
statement on behalf of the Community of Portuguese- Speaking Countries.
CELSO AMORIM (Brazil) referred to the adoption of the Final Declaration of the Council
of Ministers of the Community held in Salvador, in Brazil's Bahia State, on 18 July 1997,
which had been circulated as document A/51/954. Paragraph 8 of that Declaration, which
welcomed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Bishop Ximenes Belo and Jose
Ramos-Horta, reaffirmed the support of the Community countries for the self-determination
of the Timorese people. It defended an internationally acceptable solution to the question
of East Timor, in full respect for the legitimate rights and aspirations of its population
and in conformity with international law.
He said that President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil recently sent a message to
Indonesia's President Habibie acknowledging the important steps he had taken to reduce
tensions in his country, and expressing confidence in the positive impact such measures
could have on the Timor issue. On the same occasion, President Cardoso had supported the
resumption of negotiations between Portugal and Indonesia under the auspices of the
Secretary-General, while manifesting keen interest in the fate of the people to whom
Brazil remained strongly linked.
During today's discussions, the Brazilian delegation wished to continue placing
emphasis on the new opportunities for peace and understanding which had come into being in
recent weeks, he said. Many hurdles must still be overcome, and Brazil would remain
attentive regarding such aspects as the protection of human rights and fundamental
freedoms in East Timor. The liberation of additional political prisoners, in particular,
would continue to be eagerly awaited. At the same time, Brazil could not fail to deplore
repressive acts which had tarnished the positive trend of the past few weeks.
As conditions continued to improve for a fruitful dialogue -- which must necessarily
involve representatives of the people of East Timor -- the Community would be ready to
contribute in the furthering of the aforementioned objectives.
JOAO CORREGEDOR DA FONSECA, of the Parliamentary Group of the Portuguese Communist
Party, said that after 1974 decolonization, together with democracy and development,
constituted the three "Ds" in the new democratic Portugal. Throughout 1975, the
former colonies of Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe
gained full independence. That was not the case with East Timor, where the decolonization
process was interrupted by Indonesia's invasion in December 1975. Since then, the people
of East Timor had been defenceless victims of the Indonesian army, which assassinated over
a third of the population and maintained ongoing violence against a peaceful nation that
sought its legitimate right to freely choose its destiny.
He said Portugal has never had, nor does it now have, any territorial interest in East
Timor. Its sole aim was to conclude the decolonization process in the Territory, and
create the necessary conditions for self- determination and independence to which the East
Timorese aspired. A fair solution to that situation had to consider the withdrawal of the
invading forces, the defence of the right to self-determination and independence, the
demand for the unconditional release of Xanana Gusmao and all political prisoners, and the
preservation of the cultural and religious identity of East Timor. He defended the efforts
being undertaken by the United Nations to resolve the question and cautioned against
Indonesia's most recent proposals which would essentially block any negotiations.
TOM KELLOG, of Human Rights Watch, said free elections had never taken place in East
Timor, and it was not clear what the outcome would be if political parties representing
different views on East Timor's political future were established, with their members able
to campaign without intimidation from Government or guerrillas.
He disagreed with Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, who had stated that if a
referendum were held, it would only divide the East Timorese people between
pro-integration and anti-integration forces. It was difficult to understand how the East
Timorese people could be any more divided than under the policies pursued by the Suharto
Government of creating paramilitary groups, anti-independence organizations and internal
surveillance networks that led to serious human rights violations and served to pit East
Timorese against each other. Regrettably, those practices continued even after Suharto's
In the first few weeks of his administration, President Habibie had announced the
release of several well-known political prisoners, he said. On human rights grounds, and
in the interests of resolving the political issues that underlay the human rights
problems, the releases of East Timorese political prisoners must continue. The release of
Xanana Gusmao was key in that regard, but the Indonesian Foreign Minister had stated
publicly that he was a "hardened criminal" and would be released only in the
context of an overall political settlement.
The Indonesian army's policy of trying to weaken support for the independence movement
by organizing pro-government paramilitary units and gangs of East Timorese and youth from
Indonesia had not changed since the fall of Suharto, he said, and it continued to
exacerbate the human rights situation. That was not to suggest that the independence
supporters were wholly peaceful themselves, or that no genuinely held feelings of
opposition to the independence movement existed. However, there was a clear pattern of
government-organized opposition to the anti-integrationists that had only served to
heighten the political conflict.
President Habibie had pledged to gradually reduce the Indonesian troop presence in East
Timor. That reduction was key to reducing human rights violations as well. The Indonesian
Government had made some welcome gestures in the last few weeks, and it should be
encouraged to go further.
Sister MARY TERESA PLANTE, of the Catholic Institute for International Relations, said
it was hoped that statements by the Indonesian Government regarding ratification of the
United Nations Convention on Torture were evidence of a commitment to human rights
standards. It was hoped, therefore, that frequent reports of torture in East Timor and
Indonesia would soon belong to the past, that arbitrary killings would cease, and that
Indonesia would no longer hesitate to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on
Torture to visit East Timor, as promised in the Consensus Statement at the United Nations
Commission on Human Rights in 1996.
For the majority of East Timorese, the "autonomy" suggested by President
Habibie was no solution, she said. On the contrary, it would merely perpetuate human
rights abuses and underdevelopment. Sound development policies were dependent on peace and
human rights, which would not be achieved while the army of occupation remained and the
people were not free to determine their future.
She said that East Timorese had so far been prevented from discussing political
questions, even those within the ambit of the Intra-Timorese Dialogue, which had no status
vis-à-vis the official negotiations between Portugal and Indonesia under United Nations
auspices. That prohibition should be lifted.
Sister MARY TERESA PLANTE, speaking for the Japanese Catholic Council for Justice and
Peace, said that the Council recognized in the reform introduced by President Habibie the
power of truth and justice nurtured in the people of Indonesia, and of his restraint under
a government that had ignored international standards. It asked him to apply the same good
judgement and mode of action to the resolution of the East Timorese question.
She called for the implementation of the United Nations resolutions of 1975 and 1976
demanding the immediate withdrawal of Indonesian troops from East Timor and those calling
for the self-determination of the Territory, passed by the General Assembly on eight
The report that "Indonesia's President today offered to release imprisoned East
Timor rebel leader Jose Xanana Gusmao in return for world recognition of Indonesian
sovereignty over the disputed territory", was abusive language, she said. The Council
strongly called for the release of Xanana Gusmao, whose presence was indispensable for the
solution of the problem and the release of all other political prisoners. Of special
concern was the safety of Avelino da Silva and the five others who had sought refuge in
the Australian Embassy.
FILOMENO DE JESUS HORNAY, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of East
Timor, told the members of the Special Committee not to allow themselves to be deceived by
the non-governmental organizations (NGOs), former members of the Revolutionary Front for
the Independence of East Timor (FRETILIN), and the former colonial Power as they continued
the campaign to divide the East Timorese people. The people of the Territory took pride in
the fact that they had managed to decolonize themselves after being abandoned by a
ruthless colonial regime. East Timorese were also proud of the fact that they would not
allow themselves to be dictated to by FRETILIN, despite killings and other violent actions
by that entity. Independence through integration with Indonesia was a choice they had made
willingly. Today, the issue of East Timor was once more being used as a political agenda
by Ramos Horta and his supporters.
He said accusations that nearly 200,000 East Timorese were killed by Indonesia were
false. The figure was simply used as propaganda tool to discredit that country. The fact
that it was said over and over again did not make it true. However, the thousands of
people who had fled the rule of FRETILIN into the mountains and were never seen again was
not taken into consideration. In addition, thousands more ran away to Australia, Portugal
and other parts of the world. Those were the recorded facts. The National Council for the
East Timorese Resistance did not have the right to be involved in the dialogue under the
auspices of the United Nations because they did not represent the majority of East
Timorese. The world was not aware that there was a silent majority in East Timor that
wanted to maintain a peaceful and stable East Timor and did not incite violence to make
their wishes known.
He said the referendum was an impossibility. East Timorese had already made a choice to
become independent in 1976, when the majority chose self- determination through
integration with Indonesia. The referendum, therefore, was not a final objective. The goal
was to build a more prosperous and peaceful East Timor. It was now an opportune moment for
all East Timorese to be reconciled, to put aside differences and seize the momentum
offered by the current reform climate of Indonesia.
SOERNARTO ATMODJO, of Forum Nusantara, said the question of East Timor had long been
the subject of a campaign of misinformation by the ousted members of the FRETILIN, as well
as groups that had no knowledge of Indonesia and East Timor. That was reflected in the
allegations contained in their testimony, which was part of an overall and well-planned
strategy to mislead the members of the Special Committee.
He said certain facts had to be considered. Portugal's act of abandonment in 1975
deprived her of rights of claim to the territory. The people in East Timor had advanced as
a part of Indonesia. As far as human rights were concerned, it was unfortunate that we
lived in an imperfect world where there were human rights violations -- committed by all
countries. There had been preposterous allegations about genocide in Indonesia. The
Government of Indonesia and its armed forces were not in the business of genocide.
He appealed to the Committee to hear "the resounding call of the East Timorese
people" that they had already exercised their right to self- determination and
independence, in their aspirations to be Indonesian citizens.
ELIOT HOFFMAN, of the Australian Coalition for East Timor, said that in spite of
difficulties in surveying opinions of East Timorese people in their occupied homeland,
most reports from Timorese able to visit Australia had put support for independence as
high as 95 to 99 per cent of the population. To deny the people an act of
self-determination was to subjugate and repress their legitimate aspirations. If the
Indonesian Government believed its own claims that the majority of East Timorese supported
integration with Indonesia, it would be keen to demonstrate that to the world through a
He said that exploitation of oil in the "Timor Gap" would effectively
commence soon, with oil flowing in late 1998. The "immoral" Timor Gap Treaty
would soon allow a proportion of profits to be distributed to the Government of Indonesia
and to Australia, its main backer in the occupation of East Timor. The Timorese people --
the rightful owners -- would receive little or nothing. The failure of such institutions
as the United Nations to be effective over the years had allowed that unjust exploitation
to go ahead. That injustice could be resolved only by granting the East Timorese people
their inalienable right to self-determination. The ownership and rights over resources
could then be legitimately resolved.
FRANK FITZGERALD, of the East Timor-Ireland Solidarity Campaign, said that there were
many who, by inducement, threat, or personal gain, would speak of roads and schools built
and of telephone lines established. They would attempt, in some way, to legitimize the
terrible suffering that had been inflicted on the East Timorese. They would also attempt
to legitimize a callous disregard for international law and say that the majority of
Timorese were reconciled to the integration of East Timor into Indonesia. They had the
right to be heard, but also the obligation to be challenged. At this point in time,
however, the hand of friendship must be held out to those who served their Indonesian
overlords, and the Indonesian military itself.
He said Indonesia was now at the crossroads. His Campaign called on its Government to
become the new republic which respected the wishes of its neighbours and its own citizens;
which cherished and held dear the rule of law; which sought compromise rather than
confrontation; and which listened to voices from all over "this imperfect world of
ours" that called for justice and peace. It needed to become a republic that wanted
neither victor nor vanquished, but one which before it could take its rightful place among
the nations of the world, needed to send clear and unequivocal signals that it heeded the
voices calling for an end to violence. Also, it must honour the voices that called for the
Timorese to be a part of the solution. The people of Timor should not sit while other
nations decided their future.
AHMAD Z. HADI WAYARABI, of the Indonesian Students' Association, said there were two
sides to every story, and that open and constructive dialogue was useful in clarifying and
resolving any issue. His Association was committed to promoting and protecting human
rights and even more so in light of the reform process which had just begun in Indonesia.
It was not constructive for Indonesians and East Timorese to bear the brunt of a barrage
of criticisms. Indonesia was a multi-ethnic country that tried to ensure that none of its
citizens were favoured over others and, as a result, it continued to work on creating a
conducive attitude for the promotion of human rights.
He said it should be noted that a few years ago a National Commission on Human Rights
was established in Jakarta which had now spread to other provinces including East Timor.
That Commission had been praised by international organizations. His Association was also
very enthusiastic over the National Action Plan on Human Rights that was launched recently
in line with relevant Vienna standards. Indonesia had been the target of unfair censure
and publicity. That country, with its heritage of Dutch colonialism, and East Timor, with
its history of Portuguese colonialism, both fully understood the meaning of human rights.
Indonesia was East Timor and East Timor was Indonesia.
In a statement read on his behalf by Grover Joseph Rees, CHRISTOPHER SMITH, of the
Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights of the Committee on
International Relations, United States House of Representatives, said this was a moment of
great opportunity in Indonesia. For the first time in many years, it appeared that there
was a real chance for a speedy and peaceful transition to government of, by, and for the
people. Unfortunately, serious questions remained about whether the spirit of reform that
was sweeping Indonesia would include a willingness on the part of high government
officials to take a fresh look at the question of East Timor.
It was not necessary to decide in advance whether independence, integration or some
intermediate status was the appropriate resolution of the question of East Timor, he said.
What was most important was that the decision be taken by the people of East Timor
themselves, under a process which everyone -- Indonesia, the United Nations and other
concerned international observers, and East Timorese of all persuasions -- regarded as
fair and transparent. If, as some Indonesian officials maintained, the vast majority of
East Timorese were happy being part of Indonesia, then those officials had nothing to fear
from a process designed to test that sentiment. If, on the other hand, the majority of
East Timorese still opposed Indonesian rule, then Indonesia had little to gain by
continuing its military presence there.
He said the Government of Indonesia could take two steps immediately that would pave
the way for a negotiating process animated by mutual understanding and a desire for peace
and conciliation. First, it should heed the call for substantial demilitarization of East
Timor. Second, it should extend its recent and most welcome decision to free 16 East
Timorese political prisoners, including all those connected with pro-independence
activities, and including Xanana Gusmao.
JOHN MILLER, of the East Timor International Support Centre of Darwin, Australia, said
that while it was true that East Timor was not a rich country, it did have sufficient
resources to be viable and self-reliant. The most notable resources were oil and gas, but
there was also a coffee crop, sandalwood, marble and some reserves of silver and
manganese. Tourism and fishing could be developed further.
Another matter of concern was East Timor's human resources, he said. The Indonesian
education system seemed to have been of poor quality and encouraged a "rote
learning" approach. The occupation had made free speech and discussion difficult,
repressing individual thinking and initiative. Technical education was generally poor --
although there were now growing numbers of Timorese with the professional training that
would be needed in an independent country.
Against that was the capacity and tenacity the Timorese had shown to survive in
conditions of hardship and adversity and to find solutions that worked, he said. There was
little doubt that over time and with some help, the Timorese population would develop the
skills to be effectively self- reliant. East Timor currently drew quite a high level of
international interest and support. Relatively small inputs from some governments and
non-governmental organizations around the world could raise the level of skills and
capacity in a relatively short time and with a relatively small investment.
CONSTANCIO DIAS PINTO, of the National Resistance of East Timorese Students RENETIL,
said that in 1975, at the age of 12 years, as a result of the brutal Indonesian invasion
of East Timor, he fled into the mountains with his parents. In 1979, after three years in
the jungle where he was an eyewitness to thousands of killings by Indonesia, he was
arrested and sent to a concentration camp. In 1991, he was rearrested by the Indonesian
security forces and sent to prison where he was beaten continually over a period of 17
hours. The torture was beyond human understanding. In November 1991, he escaped from jail
and subsequently helped to organize the peaceful demonstration on 12 November 1991, in
Dili, East Timor. Unfortunately, at least 271 people were massacred by the Indonesian
soldiers that day. Seven years had elapsed and the perpetrators had still not been held
He said before the Indonesian invasion, the population of East Timor was 750,000
people. Unfortunately, over 250,000 people had been killed as a direct result of the
invasion. If the genocide in East Timor was compared to that of Nazi Germany, Pol Pot's
Cambodia, Bosnia or Rwanda, it would be one of the worst in the twentieth century. The
question of East Timor was one of violation of the fundamental right to self-determination
by the people of East Timor. It was unquestionable that Indonesia's invasion of the
Territory was a violation of international law. After 23 years of illegal occupation, the
Indonesian Government argued that the people of East Timor were happy because
infrastructures such as hospitals and roads had been developed. If that were true, the
people of Poland and Austria would have accepted the annexation by Nazi Germany because of
the roads that had been built for them.
He said his organization welcomed the President of Indonesia's offer of a special
status for East Timor and the reduction of the military presence in the Territory. The
RENETIL reiterated that any political solution for the question should be discussed with
the National Council for East Timorese Assistance (CNRT) and should be the result of the
freely-expressed wishes of the East Timorese through a democratic process that was
impartially conducted and based on universal adult suffrage. His organization also urged
the United Nations to: establish a human rights office in East Timor; establish a
fact-finding mission to investigate the killings; request the withdrawal of the Indonesian
military from the Territory; request the unconditional release of Xanana Gusmao and all
political prisoners; and call for the participation of the CNRT in the dialogue under the
auspices of the United Nations.
FERNANDO NEVES (Portugal) said Indonesia had played an important role in the Special
Committee, and therefore had particular responsibilities towards the Charter, the United
Nations, and all the new nations that had attained independence since the adoption of the
Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.
Regrettably, Indonesia still occupied East Timor, illegally and by force.
He said Indonesia had, in fact, recognized the right of the East Timorese to
self-determination. That could only mean that Indonesia considered East Timor was
different from any part of its territory and had all the prerequisites for
self-determination -- that it had a specific national, historical and cultural background.
However, he went on, while the United Nations continued to consider that the East
Timorese had not exercised their right to self-determination, as set out in the Charter
and relevant United Nations resolutions, Indonesia argued that they had. Indonesia's
position was based on the fiction that the request of a mock assembly of 37 hand-picked
individuals, who in 1976 pledged for the integration of the Territory into the Republic of
Indonesia, was a legitimate form of ascertaining the will of the people of East Timor. The
opinion of 37 non-elected East Timorese could not account for the will of an entire
Jakarta had tried to use the forceful implementation of Indonesian general elections in
East Timor as evidence that the people had chosen to participate in Indonesian political
life. But recent developments in Indonesia left no room for doubt about the lack of
freedom and the unfairness of those elections, and showed that their results did not
reflect the aspirations of Indonesians, let alone those of the people of East Timor, who
had been intimidated into voting.
He said he had just learnt that the Indonesian delegation had circulated a confidential
letter of the Secretary-General's Personal Representative for East Timor. That was a
blatant violation of the confidentiality of the tripartite talks and a total lack of
disrespect for the Secretary-General and his Personal Representative.
Right of Reply
TITO DOS SANTOS BAPTISTA (Indonesia), in right of reply, said that the 20-year-old
accusation from Portugal about being denied its rights to exert its power in East Timor
was unsubstantiated propaganda that an affront to all who had waged a struggle against
colonialism. His delegation expressed deep regret at the misleading repetitions and
rhetoric of the present forum. The former colonial Power should assume the proper guilt
for its irresponsibility in the decolonization of East Timor and also acknowledge its
ineptitude in the decolonization of all its other colonial Territories.
He said it was well known that Portugal's irresponsible abandonment of East Timor had
resulted in misery, poverty and a civil war. The Revolutionary Front for the Independence
of East Timor (FRETILIN), aided and abetted by Portugal for the last 20 years, was
responsible for that civil war. When that group found that they could not achieve their
ends they declared independence. That met with resistance and they then fled into exile.
To date, they had obstructed every aspect of the decolonization of East Timor and rejected
all peaceful means to acquire power.
He said that in the past the Indonesian Government had invited Portugal to return to
East Timor to solve issues between the warring parties, but that country had never
responded. The United Nations participation in such issues, while preferable, was not
mandatory. It was obvious, however, that the United Nations had been prevented from
participating by Portugal's manoeuvering.
The Special Committee was not the appropriate forum to discuss human rights, he added,
but it should be said that, in the present climate of reform, the promotion of human
rights in Indonesia and East Timor had never been applied with more sincerity and
dedication. He asked Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe to "refrain from their
self-righteous posturing" and look at their own human rights records.
Indonesia believed that one of the fundamental tenets of human rights was the
protection of human life, he continued. However, his country was no different from any
other when confronted with terrorism, as was the case in East Timor. He recommended that
the Special Committee remove the question of East Timor from its agenda -- it was there
only because of the manipulation of a former colonial Power. The Committee needed to
accept the East Timor reality in all its aspects.
Mr. NEVES (Portugal) expressed regret that the Indonesian representative had referred
to the former colonization of five sovereign countries in terms that were not very
respectful. His country had supported the Convention of the East Timorese in the Diaspora
and he suspected that the occupying forces supported those Timorese who advocated
integration with Indonesia. Portugal's right to support that Convention was stipulated in
the tripartite talks.
MARTY MULIANA NATALEGAWA (Indonesia) said that, unlike some countries, when faced with
challenges, threats or innuendo, Indonesia did not pack its bags and leave. Instead it
faced the challenge head-on.
He said his delegation had learnt of the reported circulation of a confidential
document this morning in the same manner as the representative of Portugal. His delegation
had been in touch with the capital on that issue and could vouch that the matter was
receiving the serious attention it deserved. The delegation of Portugal should have taken
the same restrained and prudent approach as his own delegation on the matter, rather than
raising it in an open forum and putting a negative political interpretation on it.
Delegations should refrain from raising sensitive matters in order to score cheap
political points. He said that Indonesia's principled opposition to the Special
Committee's consideration of the East Timor question did not infer any disrespect for the
Committee's competence or the good work it had done.
Mr. NEVES (Portugal) said that the circulation of the letter was a serious breach of
trust and of the rules of the tripartite talks. The Personal Representative's letter,
transmitted on the fax paper of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, had been circulated in
the conference room, in the press and in East Timor as a United Nations proposal.
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