DAILY CATHOLIC    TUESDAY     May 26, 1998     vol. 9, no. 101

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          UNITED NATIONS (CWNews.com) - Even as he takes up the leadership of Indonesia following ex-President Suharto's resignation, President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie is being pressured by the United Nations this week to resolve the status of the disputed East Timor territory.

          UN officials said they hoped Habibie would use the impetus of reform to pledge a referendum on the former Portugese colony's future, but feared he will not be strong enough to take the necessary steps. Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 after Portugal abandoned the territory following more than 300 years of colonial rule. Suharto annexed the territory a year later as Indonesia's 27th province, although the UN has never recognized Indonesia's claim.

          The majority Muslim nation is accused of widespread human rights abuses in the mainly Catholic region, and an active rebellion continues to fight the occupation. Although UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan made no mention of East Timor in an official statement on the situation in Indonesia, UN officials privately said the international community wants to convey the message that resolving the East Timor issue would do much to gain international help and acceptance for the new government.

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.

May 26, 1998       volume 9, no. 101


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