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Subject: LUSA: Xanana suggests UN send peacekeepers
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 11:27:40 -0500 (EST)
From: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <>

16 NOV 98 - 13:38 East Timor: Xanana Gusmão suggests UN send peacekeepers to his occupied homeland

Jakarta, Nov. 16 (Lusa) - Jailed East Timorese armed resistance leader Xanana Gusmão has suggested the United Nations send peacekeepers to his occupied homeland as part of a blueprint for independence, an Indonesian newspaper report said on Sunday. In an interview published in The Jakarta Post daily, Gusmão outlined a timetable for self-determination for East Timor, saying a transition process towards independence could last around three years, after a period of 18 months needed to "solve problems related to security."

East Timor, a former Portuguese overseas province, has been under Indonesian occupation since December 1975. Gusmão, who is serving a 20-year sentence in a prison on the outskirts of Jakarta for fighting for his homeland's right of self-determination, said that six to 18 months were needed for the withdrawal of Indonesian troops, as well as the disarmament of various paramilitary groups in the half-island off northern Australia.

Gusmão said that during that period an East Timorese police force should be set up as part of a "possible deployment of peacekeeping forces." The jailed freedom fighter said that he believed that about three years were needed to achieve national reconciliation in East Timor. During that period the people of East Timor should be given political education, the public administration should be rebuilt and a national census held. Gusmão said that East Timor must be allowed to vote on the issue of self-determination, rejecting claims by the Indonesian authorities that a referendum on independence would open possible divisions among East Timorese over the issues.

Gusmão was adamant that Indonesia's offer of autonomy for East Timor was meaningless without allowing for a referendum on self-determination. Gusmão also proposed a five-year development plan for East Timor.-Lusa

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