Subject: East Timorese fear Megawati will be president, says Ramos Horta

East Timorese fear Megawati will be president, says Ramos Horta

SYDNEY, May 30 (AFP) - East Timor fears Megawati Sukarnoputri will take over as Indonesia's next president if Abdurrahman Wahid is ousted, said Jose Ramos Horta, interim foreign minister of the fledgling nation.

Ramos Horta, who is visiting Australia where he spent 23 years in exile, warned Wednesday the ascension of the nationalist Megawati could lead to an increase in the activity of pro-Jakarta militia groups in East Timor.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said Megawati had shown no understanding of East Timor since its separation from Indonesia after the 1999 self-rule ballot in which the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence and an end to more than 20 years of Indonesian occupation.

She had also refused meetings with the East Timorese leadership and with the United Nations, which is administering the former Portuguese colony during its transition to independence.

He said it was obvious Indonesia was descending towards anarchy, and there was little prospect of any improvement.

An unstable neighbour led by Megawati, who tearfully begged the East Timorese to vote to remain with their Indonesian brothers in 1999, creates fears for East Timor which should achieve full independence next year.

Indonesia was irresponsible in continuing to allow the military-backed militia groups from East Timor to train in the Indonesian province of West Timor and that was unlikely to change under Megawati, Ramos Horta said.

"If anything, it will get worse," Ramos Horta said. "She is ultra-nationalistic, she has shown no sympathy whatsoever with East Timor, she has refused dialogue with the UN and with East Timorese president Xanana Gusmao.

"So it will be worse for everybody -- for Indonesia, for East Timor, for Aceh, for West Papua (Irian Jaya) and for the region."

The Indonesian parliament was meeting Wednesday to decide whether to push for impeachement proceedings against Wahid accused of incompetence and failing to rein in the country's economic woes and regional violence.

East Timor expert James Dunn, who recently returned to Australia after completing a special rapporteur's report into crimes against humanity in East Timor, said it was a matter of concern that Megawati was proving to have close ties with the military.

The military could encourage instability along the border which would mean continuing problems for East Timor's security.

"I get the feeling that whatever happens, the military won't go back to East Timor," Dunn told an Amnesty International seminar. "What they could do is make trouble along the border."

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