|Subject: JP: Ministers call for restraint in E.
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 1999 09:14:38 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Jakarta Post 08 August 1999
Ministers call for restraint in E. Timor
DILI, East Timor (JP): A 50-strong delegation of Indonesian ministers and senior officials flew in here on Saturday, calling on both proindependence and prointegration forces for restraint ahead of a landmark ballot on the disputed province's future.
Coordinating Minister for Political Affairs and Security Feisal Tanjung warned that the period between the ballot campaigning on Aug. 11 to Aug. 27 and the planned ballot on Aug. 30 would be particularly vulnerable to clashes between the two rival factions.
"It's up to both parties to create a conducive and peaceful condition for the ballot. Indonesian police will carry out firm action on anyone violating the law and order," Feisal said during a joint media conference here.
The officials' visit was the second, intended to check on preparations for the self-determination vote. The first visit was in July.
Minister of Defense and Security/Indonesian Military Commander Gen. Wiranto said the government would arrange a meeting between jailed proindependence CNRT leader Jose Alexander "Xanana" Gusmao, who is the commander of the Falintil armed wing, and leaders of the proindependence militia on the ground in the hope they will agree to lay down their arms.
"The handing over of all guns and other weapons must be an absolute priority. Xanana needs to brief his followers across East Timor and socialize the importance of peace," Wiranto said.
Wiranto, however, declined to explain arrangements for Xanana, who is being held in a special detention house in Central Jakarta, to meet the guerrillas who are holed up in mountain bases in East Timor.
Wiranto explained that the warring parties agreed recently to turn in their weapons before the ballot campaign period begins.
"But further talks are needed within both groups (proindependence and prointegration). I have met with the new CNRT coordinator, Leandro Isaac, and he said it's important to meet Xanana.
"If both warring parties do not keep their word, standard police procedures will be used," Wiranto said.
Among the ministers in the entourage on Saturday were Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Alatas, Minister of Information Muhammad Yunus, Minister of Justice Muladi, National Police chief Gen. Roesmanhadi, Minister of Health Farid Anfasa Moeloek, Minister of Social Services Justika Sjarifudin Baharsjah and Minister of Education and Culture Juwono Sudarsono.
At the same media briefing, Alatas estimated it would take a week for the August 30 autonomy ballot result to be completed.
"(The process) will include vote counting inside and outside the country," he said.
Alatas said the next People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) will discuss MPR Decree No. 6/1978 on East Timor integration to Indonesia. If the majority of East Timorese choose to be independent, the Assembly, whose members will be installed in October or November, will then decide whether to revoke the decree on the integration and replace it with one that declares the separation of East Timor.
"Therefore, there will be a certain period of some months when people have to wait for the MPR decision (to confirm) the ballot result," he added.
During that particular time, Alatas said, East Timorese and related parties must exercise self restraint and avoid conflicts.
During the visit, Wiranto, Feisal and Roesmanhadi went to visit the office of the Committee for Peace and Justice, whose membership comprises representatives of various organizations in East Timor, including proindependence groups, prointegration groups, the local government, the military, police, non-governmental organizations and religious leaders.
Justika went straight by helicopter to Atambua in West Timor, where 60,000 East Timorese refugees have sought safety, fleeing violence in their villages near the border dividing the island with West Timor, AFP reported. In a separate meeting with Alatas, United Nations Mission on East Timor head Ian Martin warned that mission members may be pulled out if security worsens in the run-up to the vote, AP reported on Saturday.
Further talks to coordinate security measures in the tense region will be held next week in Jakarta between the UN, Indonesia and Portugal, Ian said. "I told Alatas that if East Timor is in a dangerous situation, then the U.N. mission will have a plan to evacuate its staff," Martin was quoted after the meeting.
The warning came a day after voter registration for the ballot ended on Friday, with 439,580 people registered, 427,190 of whom live in East Timor. Over the past several months, clashes between proindependence and prointegration militias have marked the regions. U.N. offices and staff conducting the voter registration drive have also been repeatedly attacked by interested factions.
Under the terms of the referendum accord, Indonesia is responsible for maintaining security.
Separately, chairman of the East Timorese Front, Lopes da Cruz, reminded that the campaign for the autonomy ballot in East Timor was different from that for the general election.
"A general election is held once every five years, while the autonomy ballot will be the only one and will determine the fate of East Timorese," Lopez was quoted by Antara on Saturday while opening a course for proautonomy campaigners here.
"Therefore, campaigners of the wide-ranging autonomy concept (under the Indonesian government) have to persuade people in a peaceful way," he said. "A victory for the autonomy proposal means a victory for all," he added. (33/edt)