|Subject: Mandiri: Gus Dur meets East Timorese
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 1999 11:17:58 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Tuesday, July 27, 1999 Gus Dur meets East Timorese leaders
Abdurrahman 'Gus Dur' Wahid, chairman of Indonesia's largest Muslim organization, the Nahdlatul Ulama, met with East Timorese leaders in Dili on Tuesday and called for a peaceful popular consultation on the future of the former Portuguese colony.
Among those that he met was a leader of the CNRT, a pro-independence grouping, Leandro Isaac. During the meeting Gus Dur expressed the hope that the pro-independence group will accept it gracefully should the majority of the East Timor decided to remain within Indonesia and enjoy a wide ranging autonomy.
He also said that should the pro-independence 'win', he would call on the pro-integration to respect it. The popular consultation is scheduled for August 21 or 22.
Gus Dur later on Tuesday also held discussions with Dili Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, SDB, head of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) Ian Martin on the preparations for the August ballot. He left the East Timor capital for Jakarta on Tuesday evening.
In a related development, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said on Tuesday it would start deploying staff in East and West Timor to look after the territory's estimated 60,000 internally displaced people.
Spokesman Kris Janowski said UNHCR had been asked by the Indonesian government to deploy staff East Timor. Janowski was quoted as saying by Reuters in Geneva that up to 60,000 of 800,000 people in East Timor had been driven from their homes or fled in the past two months to avoid intimidation by militias opposed to independence.
He said that up to 10,000 people opposed to independence had also fled from East Timor to West Timor, which will not be subject to the vote on independence. (100)