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Subject: RT: Habibie urges Lisbon to help end East Timor row
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 1998 09:38:03 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Habibie urges Lisbon to help end East Timor row 07:20 a.m. Aug 22, 1998 Eastern

JAKARTA, Aug 22 (Reuters) - President B.J. Habibie called on Portugal on Saturday to work with Indonesia to help solve the East Timor dispute for the benefit of the people there.

``We have nothing against Portugal,'' he told Reuters in an interview.

``We are looking forward to it becoming more closer and to solve together the problem of (East) Timor for the people in Timor. Not for the people in Jakarta or in Lisbon, but there in Dili,'' he said.

``The problem is that there are 700,000 people living there. They have no resources, no human resources, no technology, no capital and it is very difficult to enter the next millennium,'' he added.

Jakarta and Lisbon have been at loggerheads over East Timor since Indonesian troops invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognised by the United Nations.

In June, Habibie offered a broad measure of autonomy for the territory and the foreign ministers of Indonesia and Portugal agreed to pursue the proposal after they met in New York in early August.

They also agreed to set up a form of diplomatic relations by the end of the year through special interest sections in the embassies of friendly countries in each other's capital.

``The only problem with Portugal is the Timor case,'' Habibie said on Saturday.

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