The Catholic Bishop of East Timor, Monsignor Ximenes Belo, spoke out again last week for the absolute necessity of the withdrawal of all Indonesian military forces from the territory, and the holding of a properly supervised referendum which will enable the East Timorese to decide their political future.
The scheduled talks between Portugal and Indonesia in New York on 17 December should concentrate minds on these issues. The Portuguese have long demanded that East Timorese leaders should be included in these talks, something which the British government now appears to endorse. What more appropriate way forward than to insist on Xanana Gusmao's immediate release from Indonesian custody so that he can represent his people, whose cause he has sustained so valiantly for so long.
Tutor in Modern History
8 DecemberReuse content