Subject: Statement by José Ramos-Horta
Date: Sat, 10 Apr 1999 09:46:02 -0400
From: "Gabinete Dr. José Ramos-Horta"<np98g@mail.telepac.pt>

PRESS RELEASE

STATEMENT BY JOSÉ RAMOS-HORTA

Lisbon - 6 April 1999 - During the past few months I have been calling the international community's attention to the situation in East Timor, in letters addressed to the UN Secretary General (see letter dated 22 February 1999), to the European Union governments, United States and Australia denouncing the constant provocation by the Indonesian army, destabilization actions, massacres perpetrated against the civilian population, helpless women and children.

The appeals addressed by the UN Secretary General himself and by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for the Indonesian authorities to disarm the paramilitary had no favorable effect. On the contrary, the Indonesian army has pursued the weapons distribution and aggression policy. Indonesian military presence in East Timor is now beyond 20.000 (twenty thousand) men. Even in the humanitarian plan, the Jakarta government&rsquo;s attitude has been that of creating problems to the people of East Timor, rising obstacles to the international humanitarian assistance to the people.

We cannot forget that the Indonesian authorities rejected the Australian offer to send physicians to the territory. Having initially accepted the establishing of an Australian consulate in Dili, immediately after, the Indonesian authorities went back on their decision.

During these months of provocation and terror the Resistance has always reacted with serenity, prudence and nonviolence. The FALINTIL have kept a defensive profile, with no armed confrontation between them and the Indonesian army being registered. There hasn't been any armed confrontation between the FALINTIL and the paramilitary either.

The paramilitary preferable targets are the civilian population. During all these months, in spite of the provocation and violence acts perpetrated by the Indonesian army and the paramilitary, Resistance leader Xanana Gusmão hasn't spared efforts to pursue dialogue and reconciliation in order to prevent war in East Timor between the East Timorese.

Yesterday's statement by our leader Xanana Gusmão must be taken in that context, and doesn't show any break in our resolve to proceed dialogue as the only way to achieve peace and independence in East Timor.

The FALINTIL have the sacred mission of defending the civilian population victimized by the paramilitary but will not give up the spirit of reconciliation and the dialogue process in progress.

I call on the international community to take its share of responsibility, exerting firm, more specific and concrete pressures on the Indonesian army in view of disarming the armed groups of the territory. Indonesia must proceed immediately to the drastic reduction of the number of militaries in the territory. A UN force should be deployed so that together with ABRI they can assure peace and stability in the territory. The sending of UN civilian observers to East Timor should be accelerated.

More than ever the dialogue process under the auspices of the UN Secretary General must be intensified. I still believe that not all is black and white. There are elements of good will and faith in Indonesia, not only among President Habibie's team but also in ABRI itself. Those good will elements that truly desire to build a different Indonesia withdrawing from East Timor have in Xanana Gusmão a serious and responsible leader, with whom they must seek dialogue to overcome the obstacles that certain forces tried to raise between us.

I also appeal to the East Timorese youth to avoid any act of provocation and violence against ABRI and pro-integration East Timorese.

We must recognize that there has been on our side some extremist elements, provoking agents that contributed to the actual polarization in the territory

This is the moment for prudence, serenity and a lot of faith in our own people. The independence of East Timor is inevitable, but this should be built through dialogue, wisdom and serenity. 

Contact: Elvira Mendes

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