Connect with ETAN
Like ETAN on Facebook Follow ETAN on Twitter ETAN on Google+ ETAN email listservs ETAN blog ETAN on LinkedIn ETAN on Pinterest ETAN on Instagram Donate to ETAN!

Subject: RT: Timor quiet after U.N. envoy visit
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 1998 10:22:04 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

East Timor quiet after U.N. envoy visit

01:28 a.m. Jul 20, 1998 Eastern

DILI, East Timor, July 20 (Reuters) - The troubled territory of East Timor was quiet on Monday in the wake of a visit by a special U.N. envoy which many residents did not even realise had taken place.

Envoy Jamsheed Marker met rival East Timorese groups in the eastern town of Baucau, 200 km (125 miles) east of the capital, Dili, on Sunday but avoided Dili to prevent inflaming tensions in the territory.

He was in Jakarta on Monday for further talks with Indonesian officials.

``Has he returned to Jakarta?'' a Dili cloth trader asked. ``We just didn't have any idea that he was here in East Timor.''

Government officials said the U.S. military attache, accompanied by other officials from the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, were expected to arrive in Dili on Monday for a routine visit. They declined to comment further.

Marker's meeting in East Timor on Sunday, held at an Indonesian air force base in Baucau, was also attended by East Timor spiritual leader Bishop Carlos Belo and by another bishop, Basilio Do Nascimento.

Students had planned to stage large demonstrations to mark Marker's visit. But both Dili and Baucau, where an East Timorese man was shot dead by troops last month at a protest during a visit of European Union envoys, were quiet on Sunday.

The local Suara Timor Timur (Voice of East Timor) newspaper carried full reports of Marker's visit to East Timor. It said the majority of East Timorese had no idea that Marker had finally made it to the territory.

Marker, who arrived in Jakarta last week for talks, had been vague about if and when he would visit East Timor and both Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and Belo had urged him to stay away in case his visit caused added to tension.

At least three people were killed in East Timor last month when the territory of 800,000 people was rocked by a series of big anti-Indonesia rallies organised mainly by students.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed the former Portuguese colony the following year in a move not recognised by the United Nations.

Tension rose before the anniversary of annexation last Friday. Officials have said thousands of Indonesian migrants, mainly Bugis from South Sulawesi and ethnic Javanese, fled East Timor in recent weeks for fear of attacks by local anti-Indonesia activists.

Some East Timorese, mostly students and other young people, are calling for a referendum on independence while others favour remaining part of Indonesia.

Portugal and Indonesia have been meeting for years under the auspices of the United Nations to try to resolve East Timor's status. Lisbon has asked for a referendum but Jakarta says the territory must remain an integral part of Indonesia.

East Timor attracted international attention in 1991 when nearly 200 people were killed by security forces following the funeral of pro-independence protester, human rights groups say. The government says 50 people died.

Since the resignation of former president Suharto on May 21 amid Indonesia's worst economic crisis in decades, separatist protests in East Timor and elsewhere have become more vocal.

Around 250 Irian Jayanese students held a rally outside the United Nation's Jakarta headquarters on Monday, calling for a referendum on independence for the remote eastern territory of Irian Jaya.

The students, studying in Jakarta and other cities on the island of Java, waved banners, danced and sang traditional songs as around 50 policemen watched them.

Indonesian church groups have said two people were killed in Irian Jaya earlier this month during clashes between security forces and separatist protesters.

Back to July Menu
Back to Main Postings Menu