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Subject: Marker cites Hongkong, Macau as models for Timor
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 22:47:31 +0100 (BST)

AFP, Jakarta, 20 July 1998 Extracts only

A special UN envoy Monday cited Hongkong, Macau and the Southern Philippines as possibloe models for a special autonomy for East timor, Justice Minister Muladi said.

Muladi, speaking after meeting Jamsheed Marker said he told the special nevoy of the UN secretary general that what Indonesia proposed for East timor 'is not a referendum but an expanded special province status.'

'He (Marker) said there are several models that can be considered, such as the Hong Kong model, that in Macau and the Southern Philippines,' Muladi added.

Officials, including Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and Muladi have said the special status would differ from those symbolically according to three Indonesian regions - Aceh, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.

[I repeat my earlier comment that 'special status' for Aceh has for years meant the designation and treatment of the region as a 'military operational region' or DOM which Acehnese NGOs are fighting hard to end. Carmel.]

Muladi said Jakarta would retain authority over defence, foreign affairs and finance but would leave the rest in the hands of the local authorities in East Timor.

'We discussed the proposal, the very positive proposal from President Habibie and we discussed some details of that,' Marker said after his meeting with Muladi

'All I can tell you is that it has been very positive and I an very impressed with the measures that have been taken and my meeting with the minister has reinforced my optimism,' he added.

The minister said that Marker's special request was for Indonesia to gradually withdraw its troops from East Timor, "especially the special forces". Habibie has pledged a gradual pullout but set no dates.

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