Subject: CNRT/Xanana: Urgent: "Falintil Resumes Defence Of The People Of East Timor"
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:34:31 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

xanana gusmão CNRT Timor-Leste

PRESS STATEMENT

"FALINTIL RESUMES THEIR MISSION IN DEFENCE OF THE PEOPLE OF EAST TIMOR"

For the past couple of months, we have received daily information pointing to a deterioration of the situation in East Timor.

Today, we received new information that civilian militias backed up by ABRI opened fire this morning on the population in Mauboke (Maubara, Liquica district, west of Dili), killing four and seriously injuring at least seven others.

In an interview given in Dili, on 3 April 1999, General Damiri, Commander of the Udayana Regional Military Command, revealed that there exists no political will on the part of the Indonesian government to resolve the East Timor problem.

The arrogance of ABRI is once more demonstrated by General Damiri who, through his declarations in Dili, has caused the situation to deteriorate in East Timor, and we anticipate a heightening of the climate of war. We know that Jakarta's strategy is to encourage the East Timorese to kill one other in order to justify ABRI's continued presence in the territory.

Right from the time of the Indonesian student demonstrations which led to Suharto's resignation up to the more recent waves of violence in Indonesia, we have consistently affirmed that we do not intend to take advantage of the situation of chaos in Indonesia in order to force our own political ends.

For a long time we have made it known that we wish to assist Indonesia (and more recently also the brutal Indonesian armed forces) to save face.

However, since October 1998, ABRI has been supplying weapons to civilian militias with the intention of intimidating and arming the population. We have been making regular appeals to the international community to pressure Jakarta to dismantle and disarm the militias which, initially, it was intended would only operate in the western part of the territory. As has been the case for the past 23 years, the international community continues to deposit more trust in ABRI than it does in the Timorese people, and therefore our appeals have been met only with disbelief.

With this attitude of passivity on the part of the international community, the Indonesian government feels sufficiently confident of its ability to go on arming more groups all over the territory and to intensify the campaign of violence, to the point of murdering the population to then blame the Resistance (a practice long used by ABRI, not only in East Timor, but also in Indonesia).

Our political good-will and our commitment to Peace have been perceived as our weakest point and because we have been trying to uphold this position, the international community seems not to feel the necessity to contribute to a peaceful solution in East Timor.

Today, we receive many promises of aid and co-operation for a future independent East Timor, when what we need is unequivocal and immediate support to put an end to bloodshed and violence in the territory.

We have fought alone these past 23 years, not only against a despotic and murderous regime, but also against the complete indifference of the international community. We have been trying to maintain control over the situation with repeated appeals to the population and to the FALINTIL to maintain an active engagement in the peace and reconciliation process.

However, I must remind the international community that since the beginning of the ruthless Indonesian invasion and the criminal military annexation of the Maubere nation, we, the East Timorese, have been conscious of the need to rely on our own means and to employ our own forms of struggle.

Since Jakata's offer on January 27th, we, the East Timorese, have continued to believe that independence would not come on a silver platter. And we will resume our ways of fighting to free our homeland.

The dissatisfaction, the rage and desperation of our people demand of me loyalty and firmness. I know that the East Timorese people will suffer another bloodbath, but I also know that we have no other alternative because it is our homeland and the right to it is ours. And we are prepared to make all the necessary sacrifices.

We assume full responsibility for all that might take place and we will not ask for the international community's compassion.

Our political stance has always been one of respect for the socio-political situation in Indonesia, but Jakarta's murderous generals force us to violate our compromise. And all that happens in Indonesia as a result of the intensification of the war in East Timor will not be our responsibility.

I sent a letter today to foreign Embassies in Jakarta to inform them about the current situation. I now wish to inform the international community that the situation has reached an intolerable limit in East Timor. Therefore, I am compelled to authorise the FALINTIL guerrillas to undertake all necessary action in defence of the population of East Timor against the unprovoked and murderous attacks of armed civilian groups and ABRI. In response to the numerous appeals from the People of East Timor, I also authorise the population to undertake a general popular insurrection against the armed militia groups who have been killing the population with impunity under the indifferent eye of the international community.

Homeland or death! To resist is to win! The struggle continues without respite!

Salemba, 5 April 1999

The President of CNRT,

Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão
Commander of the FALINTIL
Contact: Tel: (62-21) 420 7505

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