Subject: AFP: Students urge release of Xanana
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 16:42:46 +1300
From: sonny inbaraj <email@example.com> Organization: The AustralAsian
Students urge release of leader, referendum in East Timor
Fri 14 Aug 98 - 06:20 GMT
JAKARTA, Aug 14 (AFP) - Some 100 East Timorese students from different universities in Indonesia protested Friday demanding the release of jailed rebel leader Xanana Gusmao and a referendum for the troubled territory.
The protests took place consecutively at the justice ministry and the UN headquarters here, and ended peacefully after officials in both places personally accepted a petition handed over by student representatives.
Dozens of policemen watched closely as the students, wearing black head bands labeled "referendum", waved banners reading "Referendum is the best and democratic way", "Free Xanana" and "total withdrawal of Indonesian forces".
Jakarta invaded East Timor in 1975 and unilaterally declared the territory its 27th province the following year in a move never recognised by the United Nations and most states.
The students, members of the "East Timor Students and Youth Association" or IMPPETTU, urged Jakarta to agree to a referendum under UN supervision to allow the people of East Timor to decide their own future.
The Indonesian government has promised East Timor autonomy, a pledge which has drawn Portugal into talks, but it has rejected the possibility of a referendum, saying it will only trigger bloodshed.
Foreign ministers from Jakarta and Lisbon last week agreed in New York to take steps to speed a solution, including closer involvement by East Timorese.
"We're not against the dialogue but we want to be part of it," one protestor said. "The talks should involve Xanana and regard him as our national leader."
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said recently Xanana had "an important part to play" in negotiations over the future of the former Portuguese colony.
Senior officials from both Portugal and Indonesia are scheduled to meet again in New York by the end of September to discuss Indonesian proposals for "wide-ranging autonomy" for East Timor excluding foreign affairs, security and finance.
"Timor Today" ETISC -East Timor International Support Center PO Box 651 N'cliff, Darwin Australia 0814 Bahasa Indonesia dan Inggris http://www.easttimor.com email: firstname.lastname@example.org