Subject: LUSA: Ramos Horta says Port. is prep'd to pay up to 2/3 of ET's budget
Date: Sat, 06 Mar 1999 08:38:58 -0500
From: "Sharon R.A. Scharfe" <pet@web.net>

02 MAR 99 - 07:44 East Timor: Jose Ramos Horta says Portugal is preparted to pay up to two thirds of East Timor budget

Macau, Mar 02 (Lusa) - Nobel Peace prize co-laureate Jose Ramos Hortga said in an interview with the respected Asiaweek magazine received here on Tuesday that Portugal was "more than willing to pay half or two-thirds" of East Timor's (annual) budget. The magazine said the (annual) budget was estimated at US $ 100 million. "We can get US $ 5 million from the United Nations and US $ 5 million from the European Union," Ramos Horta was quoted as saying, describing the estimates as "very conservative." Ramos Horta, vice-president of the National Timorese Resistance Council, also said he had received "assurances and support from Canada, from the US and many others" regarding East Timor's possible independence in the near future, adding that "even if Australia is too scared, too stingy - fine, they can keep their money." Ramos Horta, a former foreign minister of the ephemeral Democratic Republic of East Timor, also said that East Timor's independence was "irreversible," stressing that he was "campaigning more strongly than ever to reject the (Indonesian) autonomy proposal" for his homeland that has been occupied by Jakarta since December 1975. Ramos Horta, who lives in exile in Portugal and Australia, also said "the ideal scenario is for Indonesian troops to pull out (of East Timor) by January 1, 2000, as (Indonesian President B.J.) Habibie promised." The resistance leader also said that administration of East Timor should be handed to the UN if the East Timorese rejected Jakarta's autonomy proposal. "We would not jump to independence right away," he said, adding Indonesia's only legacies in East Timor were "war, abuse, humiliation, rape, corruption and mismanagement." Ramos Horta also promised East Timor's pro-Indonesian representatives that he "will be with them because they are now the most vulnerable. I always side with the underdogs. They can be assured that they have Xanana (Gusmao) and me as allies." Xanana Gusmao, who is held in special detention in a house in Jakarta owned by the Indonesian ministry of justice, chairs the National Timorese Resistance Council. Ramos Horta also said in the interview the East Timorese should forgive Indonesia for its crimes against humanity in their homeland. "If you ask for forgiveness, you have to be prepared to forgive others," he said, quoting US President Bill Clinton. Ramos Horta also said the East Timorese resistance movement was "not blameless. We must have humility and courage to say it wasn't only Indonesia that instigated tension in 1975." Ramos Horta also vowed to return to East Timor and to meet Gusmao in Jakarta "as soon as possible." He said he did not want any formal role in East Timor's future government. "I can contribute by running a diplomacy school to train future diplomats of (East) Timor." Ramos Horta also said that East Timor might join ASEAN after gaining independence from Indonesia. Lusa/Fim

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