Subject: SCMP: Analysis: Peace accord 'PR exercise for military'
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 1999 10:36:56 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo:

South China Morning Post Thursday April 22 1999

East Timor Sunny ceremony hides scepticism that guns will be silenced for long


On the face of it, the signing ceremony was a polite event in the sunny backyard of Bishop Carlos Belo's house.

Armed forces chief General Wiranto sat between Bishop Belo and East Timor's other Catholic bishop, Basilio da Nascimento, as if blessed by their presence.

But the stressed looks on the faces of pro-independence figures Manuel Carrascalao and Liandro Isaac said something was wrong. Both men are still living under protective police custody, fearing for their lives after weekend attacks.

"It is not a legitimate accord, it looks very artificial. It was forced according to a schedule that was well established," said Mr Carrascalao's brother Mario, former governor of East Timor.

The peace accord signed by East Timor's conflicting parties appears to have been forced through to smooth the way for talks in New York between Indonesian and Portuguese foreign ministers. It is also an attempt to save face for General Wiranto, who tried during a whirlwind 18-hour visit to East Timor to mop up the weekend disaster his military helped create.

Signatories were only briefly consulted on the text of the five-point document.

Church sources said signatories only found out about the accord on Tuesday. "They had one day and one night to decide whether to sign. There was no time to discuss," the source said.

Resistance leader Xanana Gusmao signed the document in Jakarta, where he is under house arrest. The document bearing his signature was flown down to Dili in a military Hercules plane.

Gusmao, long cynical after a series of broken promises, does not believe the truce will hold.

"It looks like a public relations exercise for the military. Xanana signed because it was strategically important to be involved," a source close to him said.

Even the pro-integration militias have little faith in it. Only minutes after the peace deal was signed, the militias reneged.

"I don't trust it because the Falintil guerillas have not signed. I will not give up my fight," said Eurico Guterres, commander of the Aitarak militia based in Dili.

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