Subject: AFP: E. Timorese set up organisation name Xanana as head
Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 18:00:26 +1300
From: sonny inbaraj <ausasia@ozemail.com.au>

East Timorese set up new organisation, name jailed rebel leader as head

Wed 09 Sep 98 - 07:27 GMT

DILI, East Timor, Sept 9 (AFP) - Five former political parties in the troubled territory of East Timor Wednesday announced the formation of a new national organisation and named jailed rebel leader Xanana Gusmao to head it.

A communique circulated here announced the establishment of the National Council of Resistance of the People of East Timor by the five parties that existed in the former Portuguese colony before Indonesia annexed it in 1976.

The founders also "appointed Xanana Gusmao as chairman," the statement said.

Gusmao, 52, is serving a 20 year sentence in Jakarta's Cipinang jail for plotting against the Indonesian state and for illegal possession of weapons.

The founding parties were the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin), the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT), the Timorese Popular Democratic Association (Apodeti), Sons of the Mountain Warriors (KOTA) and the Labour Party (Partido Trabalhista.)

The new council demanded an immediate referendum on self-determination, calling it the best solution that would lead to a just, peaceful and internationally acceptable settlement.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognised by the United Nations and most states. Dwindling numbers of pro-independence guerrillas have been fighting its troops ever since.

The new council also "rejects the autonomy for East Timor as offered by the United Nations and Indonesia," the communique said.

Officials from Portugal and Indonesia are due next month to discuss Jakarta's offer of wide-ranging autonomy for East Timor as part of Indonesia. The talks are held under the auspices of the UN secretary general.

Gusmao too, in statements smuggled out of prison and in interviews, has insisted that Indonesia must allow self-determination through a referendum in East Timor. Jakarta has rejected the proposal, arguing that it could lead to civil war.

"Xanana Gusmao holds the key to the problem of East Timor," the council said.

It demanded that Jakarta immediately release Gusmao and involve him in dialogue between various East Timorese factions here and abroad under the auspices of the UN secretary general.

Gusmao, in a paper read out at a conference organised by the New Zealand Asia institute of the University of Auckland today, reiterated his calls for a referendum, a press release from the Darwin-based East Timor International Support Centre said.

"There can be no genuine solution to the East Timor problem without a referendum. We demand this right of ours -- a right denied to us for 23 years and ignored by the world -- and we demand it vigorously. We will not be put off with compromises such as autonomy, " Gusmao said in the paper.

"Let us hold a referendum, in order to show the world and particularly the Indonesians, the strength of our unity and the intensity of our desire to be East Timorese," he added.

"Timor Today" ETISC -East Timor International Support Center PO Box 651 N'cliff, Darwin Australia 0814 Bahasa Indonesia dan Inggris http://www.easttimor.com email: etio@ozemail.com.au

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