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Jonathan Head in Jakarta
Indonesia's military responsible for terrible violence
 real 28k

Monday, 29 November, 1999, 11:27 GMT
Indonesia 'responsible' for Timor destruction
Xanana Gusmao arriving for talks in Jakarta Xanana Gusmao (left) arriving for talks in Jakarta

An East Timorese independence leader has blamed Indonesia's military for the devastation of his homeland, but has promised to work towards friendly ties.

East Timor
Xanana Gusmao singled out former military commander General Wiranto as responsible for the violence that followed East Timor's independence vote in August.

"I believe that General Wiranto as [then] minister for defence was responsible," said Mr Gusmao on his first visit to Indonesia since being released from a Jakarta prison after the referendum.

Mr Gusmao is heading a delegation of East Timorese leaders in their first meeting with the new Indonesian government.

He said the wave of destruction was planned and organised, and that he had asked General Wiranto several times to prevent it.

General Wiranto General Wiranto stands accused
Mr Gusmao also blamed senior officers in Kopassus, Indonesia's elite Special Forces Command, for the mayhem carried out by anti-independence militiamen.

"I have to say that the Kopassus generals were very, very involved in the destruction," he added.

United Nations officials and a state-appointed Indonesian investigative team also said that the army and police orchestrated the September rampage.

General Wiranto stepped down as armed forces chief last month, and he has been appointed co-ordinating minister for political and security affairs in the month-old government of President Abdurrahman Wahid.

Political prisoners

Mr Gusmao, who is likely to be the first president of the newly independent East Timor, is scheduled to meet President Wahid on Tuesday.

UN troops UN troops are still peacekeeping in East Timor
The former rebel said East Timor wanted friendly relations with Indonesia, which invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975.

About 100,000 East Timorese died in 24 years of Indonesian rule.

"We can choose our friends, but not our neighbours, and Indonesia is an important neighbour for East Timor," Mr Gusmao said.

He added he wanted to fix diplomatic and security problems between the two sides, and he invited Indonesian businesses to invest there.

He also called on President Wahid to release 18 East Timorese political prisoners still imprisoned in Jakarta.

The territory is being temporarily administered by the United Nations.

Hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes in terror after the independence ballot and many were forcibly sent to camps in Indonesian-held West Timor. An estimated 130,000 East Timorese are still there.

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See also:
27 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Requiem for Timor 'martyrs'
16 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
UN effort in East Timor under fire
27 Oct 99 |  Asia-Pacific
UN wants $200m for East Timor
23 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Holbrooke issues warning on Timor
03 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
UN teams snatch Timor refugees
28 Nov 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia to cut Timor troops

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