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Shofar FTP Archive File: places/east-timor/joint-statement.980612

[email header trimme]

Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 12 Jun 1998 11:02:22 +0930
From: robert wesley-smith 
Organization: affet/troppo rural consulting


Indonesian acting-President B.J. Habibie has said his government might
be willing to consider granting special rights to East Timor as a way 
of resolving the international tussle over its status. 
He said that any special status offer for Timor was conditional on
Portugal and the UN recognising it as an integral part of Indonesia. 

"Conditioning any accord on integration with Indonesia is not a
negotiating position", a Portuguese government spokesman said.  "Such  
a step would contravene both international law and the form 
in which the problem of Timor was perceived by the United Nations". 

*   WE agree with that, as does most of the rest of the world, and we
re-demand that our own government of Australia relinquishes its  
illegal and immoral view that East Timor is legally part of Indonesia.

East Timor leader Jose Ramos-Horta, the co-winner of the 1996 Nobel
peace prize, rejected Habibie's offer as ambiguous and arrogant after 
25 years of annexation and human rights abuse. 

"I don't think it will satisfy the people of East Timor," he told the
BBC.  "Our demand, which is very basic, is that the people of East 
Timor be given the right, the opportunity, to express their views
about their own future through a referendum under U.N. supervision".

A historic forum on the future of East Timor was held in Dili on
Saturday 6th June, attended by over 2,000 people including the current
Governor Abilio Soares, former Governor (and meeting chair)  
Mario Carrascalao, Manuel Carrascalao and Domingos Soares. 

The meeting eventually adopted five points:

1.  the release of all political prisoners, including Xanana Gusmao
2.  asked both Indonesia and Portugal to agree to a
joint                        administration for an interim period 
3.  the removal of ABRI from East Timor
4.  requested that the UN send in peacekeeping troops
5.  preparations be made for a referendum

*   We also support these positions as a minimum.

Further, if Habibie cannot bring himself to accept such legitimate
demands, then he is supporting the Suharto regime's brutal conquest   
of a neighbour as a legitimate form of international practice.  This 
will destroy any aspiration he may have to world acceptance as a 
liberal democrat, and may signal the only options left to resolve the
issue of East Timor,  which may make a referendum obsolete.

*   We ask him to reconsider.  East Timor helped undo Suharto, and it
will be a litmus test for Habibie.

Signed,   by Australian East Timor Network members:

Australians for a Free East Timor AFFET 
Rob Wesley-Smith              PhFx 08 89832113  015 613570
in Sydney East Timor Justice Lobby Vacy Vlazna  ph 02 99487043
             George Aditjondro  ph 049 677053, 049 949 215921

Campaign for an Independent East Timor SA CIET  
Andy Alcock                   ph 08 82053259  83710480
Andy Alcock in Adelaide and Rob Wesley-Smith in Darwin are also
spokespeople for ACET (Aust Coalition for a Free East Timor)

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