Subject: RT: Horta barred from Timor
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 09:11:01 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Indonesia bars Nobel peace laureate from visiting Timor

June 30, 1999 Web posted at: 7:49 AM EDT (1149 GMT)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuters) -- Indonesia will not allow Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta to visit his native East Timor, a government minister said on Wednesday.

Ramos-Horta arrived in Jakarta last week, for the first time since Indonesia invaded his homeland and forced him into exile in 1975.

Information Minister Yunus Yosfiah said the decision had been taken for reasons of Ramos-Horta's own safety and communicated to supporters of independence at peace talks in Jakarta.

Ramos-Horta is attending those talks.

"The foreign minister has decided that Ramos-Horta should not go to East Timor. The reason is for his own good because the majority of East Timorese people will reject his presence," Yunus told reporters after a cabinet meeting on security matters.

He said the message had been passed to East Timor's spiritual leader, Bishop Carlos Belo, who won the 1996 Nobel peace prize jointly with Ramos-Horta.

"As a result we have got confirmation from Bishop Belo that the participants of the peace talks in Jakarta from the pro-independence side from abroad, including Ramos-Horta, will not go to East Timor."

Ramos-Horta, one of Jakarta's sternest critics, is currently attending the church-sponsored talks after Indonesia agreed to issue him and other exiled resistance leaders visas for the first time in decades.

Before Ramos-Horta's arrival last Saturday, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas left open the possibility of allowing him to go to East Timor as long as he did not campaign in favour of independence in an August vote.

Ramos-Horta has expressed a desire to go back to his homeland, which he left a few days before Indonesia's 1975 invasion. He said after arriving in Jakarta that he would like to go in July or August and would agree not to campaign.

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