Subject: AN: East Timor governor warns against UN-sponsored ballot
Date: Fri, 02 Apr 1999 07:59:15 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

East Timor governor warns against UN-sponsored ballot Antara news agency, Jakarta, in English 29 Mar 99

Dili, East Timor, 29th March: East Timor Governor Abilio Jose Osorio Soares said Monday the UN-sponsored direct ballot to determine whether the East Timorese accept or reject wide-ranging autonomy had better not be carried out to avoid the outbreak of violent clashes among East Timorese. Speaking to reporters here, he said the East Timorese were not yet ready to accept victory or loss in the direct ballot which Jakarta wants it to be held in July.

"We fear the victors will be inclined to kill, the more so the losers," he said. The political temperature in East Timor was now "soaring" and this condition needed political compromise rather than the fulfilment of one political aspiration. "In a political compromise, every side will win and conflict can be avoided," he said.

The East Timorese community should be encouraged to work out a political compromise to settle the problems affecting their land so that a civil war such as happened in 1975 can be averted, the governor said.

The direct ballot was reached at the last tripartite meeting between Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and his Portuguese counterpart, Jaime Gama, under the auspices of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in New York recently. Abilio said the tripartite meeting's agreement would be consulted with the East Timorese but there was not certainty yet on how the consultation would be conducted. "A UN team is currently collecting needed data, but I would suggest that the direct vote not be carried out." All political figures of East Timor should make the same suggestion to the central government and the United Nations because the direct vote was not the best way out, he said...

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