DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     June 24, 1998     vol. 9, no. 122

from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO


          JAKARTA (CWNews.com) - Indonesia's foreign minister said on Tuesday that his country is ready to grant a special status to disputed East Timor, and Indonesian President B.J. Habibie will meet with Bishop Carlos Belo of Dili, East Timor to discuss the situation on Wednesday.

          "This meeting is in order that the president is proactive in communicating with prominent Indonesian figures, including from East Timor," said Secretary of State Akbar Tanjung told reporters on Tuesday. "Various things will be discussed, including the East Timor issue." Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, who will also attend the meeting, said he had met with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York last week to present the plan to the international community for its approval. "For this aim, Indonesia is also ready to discuss the substantial elements of the special status for East Timor with Portugal, under the framework of the tripartite dialogue under the mediation of the UN Secretary General," he said.

          Indonesia invaded mainly Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed the former Portugese colony the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. Bishop Belo was a co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, along with self-exiled resistance leader Jose Ramos-Horta, for their efforts in seeking a peaceful settlement. The meeting with Habibie will occur one day before the president is due to give a major policy speech on human rights.

          Alatas said the Indonesian government believes that giving East Timor a special status is the real solution to the issue and could be accepted by all parties concerned. Many resistance leaders reject the special status proposal, instead demanding a referendum on independence.

Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

June 24, 1998       volume 9, no. 122


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