Subject: LUSA: NGOs Urge Security Council To Slow Independence Pace

East Timor: NGOs Urge Security Council To Slow Independence Pace 
23 Mar-11:41

Thirty East Timorese non-governmental organizations have appealed to the UN Security Council to slow the pace of transition to independence to give people more time to participate in discussions over a future constitution.

Expressing "serious worries", the NGOs, in a letter dated March 17, call on the Security Council to delay the election of a constituent assembly, which has been set for Aug. 30.

"The calendar for consultations (on the constitution) should be of at least nine months, with an additional three months for the gathering of data", reads the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Lusa Friday in Dili.

The current countdown, being "pushed" by the UNTAET transition administration and "some Timorese leaders", only allows a consultation period of three months "because of the hurry to hold elections Aug. 30", the letter says.

The East Timorese "need time to debate, form opinions and achieve consensus on issues that divide them", the NGOs wrote. "None of this can take place in three months".

Separately, Dili's "Timor Post" published an interview with a former Falintil commander, Falur Rate Laek, who argued that the recent wave of violence, especially in Baucau and Viqueque, underlined the territory's lack of "maturity for independence".

The violence, Laek charged, was in part generated by the ambition and greed of unnamed politicians, who "only work for money" and "demand their rights without assuming their responsibilities".

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