Subject: AFP: Six foreign envoys hold talks with jailed ETimorese leader
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:39:02 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Six foreign envoys hold talks with jailed East Timorese leader

JAKARTA, May 25 (AFP) - Envoys from six countries invited to serve on a UN force to monitor a vote on the future of East Timor held lengthy talks here Tuesday with jailed East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao.

The meeting at Gusmao's detention house in central Jakarta came hours after UN Secretary General Kofi Annan strongly criticized the Indonesian military for failing to maintain peace in East Timor.

"All I can say is that there was a broad ranging discussion on a number of issues of particular interest" to the six, said Australian Ambassador John McCarthy.

"Beyond that I am not free to speak," he said as the six emerged from more than two hours of talks with Gusmao in his detention house in central Jakarta.

McCarthy was accompanied by the ambassadors of Great Britain and the Philippiness and envoys from the United States, Japan and Germany. All the other five declined comment.

Indonesia had asked the United Nations to include all six countries in a proposed civilian police force to monitor a vote to determine if the people of East Timor, invaded by Indonesia in 1975, wanted independence or to remain a part of Indonesia with autonomy.

On Monday night in New York, Annan indicated the vote could be threatened by the unchecked violence there.

"I regret to inform the Security Council that credible reports continue to be received of political violence, including intimidation and killings, by armed militias against unarmed pro-independence civilians," Annan said.

"The situation in East Timor remains extremely tense and volatile," he said, indicating the violence could derail the proposed vote on August 8.

Gusmao's lawyer, Hendardi, also said he was unable to comment on the contents of Tuesday morning's talks with his client who is serving a 20-year sentence for armed rebellion.

"They talked about the mandate given to them," Hendardi said.

McCarthy meanwhile argued Australia was not biased over the East Timor issue.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas veoted a proposal by East Timor's bishops for a meeting between the two warring East Timorese sides in Australia to try to cool the tension saying Australia was biased.

"He is foreign minister of Indonesia, and he is free to make such comments as he wishes to make, but we would not however agree that we are biased," McCarthy said.

"But of course Mr. Alatas is entitled to his opinion and he is man for whom I have great respect."

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