Subject: AFP: Jakarta not attempting to put off Timor polls: UN envoy told
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 08:51:36 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Jakarta not attempting to put off Timor polls: UN envoy told

JAKARTA, June 22 (AFP) - Indonesian Justice Minister Muladi (eds: one name) Tuesday told UN special envoy Jamsheed Marker that ongoing violence in East Timor was not a deliberate attempt to disrupt the August poll there to determine the territory's future.

The factional battles in East Timor result from emotional outbursts rather than systematic efforts to thwart the UN-sponsored ballot in the former Portuguese territory, Muladi was quoted by the Antara news agency as saying.

He was speaking after meeting Marker, the special envoy on East Timor of United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan.

Muladi said it was important to disarm both the pro- and anti-independence factions as quickly as possible while at the same time "socializing" Jakarta's offer, by which he meant disseminating more information.

The autonomy package was agreed by Indonesia and Portugal at the United Nations in New York in May. The agreement provides for a free ballot in East Timor on August 8 to determine whether the people there accept or reject the package.

Indonesia has said it will free East Timor, a former Portugese colony it invaded in 1975, if the people there rejected autonomy.

Violence between the two camps in east Timor has escalated since the offer was made.

The UN mission in East Timor (UNAMET) has blamed much of the violence on pro-Indonesian militias.

Muladi also said he was yet to receive a go-ahead from the foreign ministry to issue self-exiled East Timorese pro-independence activist and Nobel laureate Jose Ramos Horta with a visa to visit Indonesia.

Horta, a leading figure in the East Timor conflict, was expected to attend a meeting organised by two bishops of East Timor to promote reconciliation among the rival factions.

The meeting is to be held in jakarta in two stages, on June 25 and 26 among East Timorese residents and from June 27 to 30 with exiled Timorese and other concerned parties, officials have said.

Muladi said if Horta wanted to visit Indonesia to campaign ahead of the August polls, he would be violating the May agreement.

Horta, currently in Australia, said earlier this month he intended to go to East Timor to campaign, regardless on whether Jakarta approved or not.

Marker is in Indonesia to make a final assessment and report to Annan on whether the security situation is conducive for balloting in East Timor.

The envoy, who was accompanied by UNAMET chief, Ian Martin, has already met President B.J. Habibie, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and Defense Minister and Armed Forces Chief General Wiranto.

He also met East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao at his house jail in Jakarta Monday.

Marker was due to leave for East Timor on Wednesday for a three-day visit.

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