Subject: DN: Resistance leader says people cannot vote freely
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 10:19:12 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts Resistance leader says people cannot vote freely Source: 'Diario de Noticias' web site, Lisbon, in Portuguese 17 May 99

Excerpts from report by the Portuguese newspaper 'Diario de Noticias' web site on 17th May

David Ximenes is one of the CNRT's [National Council of the Timorese Resistance] leaders in Dili and the only one, despite being in hiding and changing houses everyday, who has maintained daily contacts with Xanana Gusmao [Timorese resistance leader recently released from prison into house arrest] and UN diplomats.

['Diario de Noticias'] Is the CNRT paralysed? [Ximenes] We have orders not to react to provocations. We are keeping calm, we have our communications network. There are delays but reports do arrive. The political commission, yes, that is paralysed. Everyone is in hiding. Only I talk, but the rank and file continue their consolidation in all the regions.

[Q] Do you think there are conditions to hold a referendum on 8th August? [A] It was reported that I had said that we were going to boycott the consultation, but it is not true. What I said was that if the people do not feel safe to vote, if everything stays as it is, I don't know if the people will accept it. Obviously the people will not say yes [to independence].

[Q] To save their lives... [Ellipsis as published] [A] If this does not change, people will not vote freely. They are very afraid.

[Q] Is the UN aware of your concerns? [A] We have spoken to the UN staff. They say they are preparing everything and that their force will grow quickly on the ground to create the conditions...

[Q] The CNRT is falling behind in terms of the campaign. Have you planned anything in these conditions? [A] There is a strategic offensive and a static defence. We need to see whether we are really losing, or going backwards, or whether we are winning. Perhaps we are winning... [ellipsis as published] by not reacting to the provocations.

[Q] Some people say Indonesia has a plan to push people to west Timor, if there is independence, leaving the CNRT with a territory without people. [A] They can do that. They have the capacity. But the people will know how to resist.

[Q] It is said the people in the mountains are in a dire situation. [A] I have asked the UN people to guarantee the security of the men in the mountains. It is not just here in Dili.

[Q] And are Falintil [East Timor National Liberation Armed Forces] really inactive? [A] They are inactive. They are on a civilian offensive, to prepare the people for independence. Without weapons.

[Q] The CNRT headquarters are empty... [Ellipsis as published] [A] The militias threatened to attack it. The owner of the building (it is rented) asked us to stop our activities inside otherwise the militias would destroy the whole building...

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