Subject: LUSA: JRH says autonomy only acceptable if referendum guaranteed
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 09:46:30 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <email@example.com>
06 OUT 98 - 11:54 East Timor: Ramos Horta says autonomy only acceptable if referendum guaranteed
Boston, Oct. 6 (Lusa) - Nobel Peace Prize co-laureate Ramos Horta said in Boston last week he would accept an arragement to end Indonesian's 23-year military occupation of his homeland only if a referendum on self-determination was guaranteed by Jakarta within five years.
Ramos Horta, 48, was in Boston last Saturday to take part in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration Human Rights.
''We welcome the autonomy plan as long as within three or five years there is a referendum supervised by the United Nations, so that the people of East Timor can determine their future,'' said Ramos Horta, now living in exile in Portugal.
''If East Timor is granted autonomy, I would not hesitate to go back tomorrow, and I would do so without any political intentions,'' the Nobel Peace Prize winner said. Ramos Horta said one of the reasons that human rights abuses were continuing oin East Timor was that the United States and other Western countries kept close trade relation with Indonesia.
''So far, the commitment to human rights has only been lip service,'' Ramos said, adding that ''for countries such as the United States, trade strands above human rights.'' Ramos Horta said that in the wake of Asia's financial turmoil the chances were good that East Timor could soon win autonomy from Jakarta. ''The Asian economic crisis has essentially incapacitated the government of Indonesia from continuing the same policies,'' he said, adding, ''the pressure is mounting on Jakarta to relingquish its control fo East Timor.'' Ramos Horta shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Price with Roman-Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo, the spiritual leader of the occupied territory's overwhelmingly Catholic population.
East Timor, a half-island of 800,000 inhabitants off northern Australia, has under Indonesian military occupation since December 1975.-Lusa nnnn
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