Subject: DN: Interview with Belo
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 1999 09:14:12 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

March 13, 1999, Saturday

Bishop says peace only possible when Indonesian troops leave 'Diario de Noticias' web site, Lisbon, in Portuguese 11 Mar 99

Bishop of Dili Dom Ximenes Belo has said that peace would only be possible in East Timor if the Indonesian troops left and all the militias were disarmed. That transmigrants were now fleeing the province was "not a problem" for him, as they had only come for their own gain.

Excerpts from report entitled: "With the military there will be no peace" ; published by the Portuguese newspaper 'Diario de Noticias' web site on 11th March

Back from a long visit to Australia, the bishop of Dili [Dom Ximenes Belo] told 'Diario de Noticias' his views about the situation in East Timor... ['Diario de Noticias'] You have advocated a slow transition process to autonomy. But the Indonesian government has rushed things, is this bad? [Belo] Yes, it has rushed things, but we will have to see how things go. I say, seeing that my first position was not accepted by Indonesia, now we have to wait for the conclusions of the talks in New York. In any case, Timor needs preparation, even for autonomy. It needs human resources and people with administrative skills.

[Q] These things take their time... [ellipsis as published] [A] No doubt

[Q] Until June is not long enough?

[A] I cannot tell. But it is necessary to prepare. The important thing is that the Indonesian military should leave, the militias be disarmed, both sides, so that there is a favourable atmosphere and things can advance. [Q] The big issue now is the militias. What do you think about it? [A] I know. But while the Indonesian army remains in Timor it is not possible to speak of peace.

[Q] Even if the militias stop their actions, since the army has had a defensive position?

[A] But the army is behind it. It uses the militias. For me, the important thing is: as long as the Indonesian soldiers are here there will not be a long-lasting peace.

[Q] Recently the question of the fleeing of the transmigrants was raised. [A] Well, for me that is not a problem. Why did they come? To promote their own interests, to open up businesses. They did not come to help the East Timorese. This is an opportunity for the Timorese to develop their abilities and potential, in the economic and other areas. Now everything depends on the Timorese. It is not just political talk and blah, blah, blah, take up arms. It is time to show their qualities, it is a time for reconstruction, to show they are able to replace the Indonesians who are leaving here... [Q] What do you think Portugal should do now?

[A] I wanted to ask Portugal, above all, to protect its rights and defend the aspirations of the people. No doubt Portugal should say that it is the people who should decide. But the people also think that Portugal should not renounce its right to defend the rights of the people.

[Q] Many Timorese have said that.

[A] There is a danger that autonomy will be signed and that is it. It is as if the problem has been abandoned, and now the people have to resolve it. But it cannot be that way.

[Q] And it stops being Portugal's problem?

[A] Exactly. Portugal needs to maintain its position. If it signs, it must explain why. If it allows it to be definitively recognized as Indonesian territory, it should follow it. But if that is the case, there will be great sadness, great protests, above all from people who are still linked to Portugal and might feel abandoned.

[Q] I have felt that the older people still have a strong link with Portugal... [ellipsis as published]

[A] It is true. I think Portugal should maintain its position.

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