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Subject: AFP: No secret plans for East Timor, UN says
Date: Fri, 03 Jul 1998 11:58:12 +1300
From: sonny inbaraj <ausasia@ozemail.com.au> Organization: The AustralAsian

No secret plans for East Timor, UN says

UNITED NATIONS, July 2 (AFP) - The United Nations said Thursday it has made no formal proposals to settle the issue of the status of the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, annexed in 1976 by Indonesia.

The strongly worded statement by UN spokesman Fred Eckhard came after the publication in Indonesia of a five-page document marked "strictly confidential" from UN special envoy Jamsheed Marker.

Eckhard said Marker was "dismayed and seriously concerned at the deplorable breach of diplomatic confidentiality" that led to the release of the "highly confidential letter."

In East Timor, Bishop and Nobel Prize winner Carlos Belo criticized the leak about Indonesia's proposal to turn East Timor into an autonomous region.

Belo said the report, dated April 23, should be withdrawn.

"It is best that the UN pulls itself out from circulation and cancels all the UN's written plan on autonomy as listed in the draft." he said. "I think this would be the wisest move for both the pro and anti-integration groups within and outside Indonesia."

Eckhard said the special envoy "reiterates that there have been no proposals, formal or informal, made by the United Nations on the issue of East Timor."

UN efforts are continuing to find a "just, comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution," he said.

The UN and most countries do not recognize Indonesia's unilateral annexation of East Timor in 1976 after an invasion the previous year. They still view the former colonial ruler Portugal as the legitimate administrator.

Talks between Lisbon and Jakarta to resolve the issue have dragged on since 1983. Pro-independence groups in East Timor are calling for a referendum.

Eckhard said the letter was "exploratory in nature and meant to enrich previous discussions ... and did not constitute proposals of any kind."

Marker has sent a formal protest to Nugroho Wisnumurti, head of political affairs at Indonesia's Foreign Ministry, he added.

©AFP 1998

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