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Thursday, May 21, 1998 Published at 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK




Call for calm in East Timor

East Timor's Nobel Peace prize winner, Jose Ramos Horta, has appealed to the people of East Timor to respond calmly to the news of President Suharto's resignation.


Jose Ramos Horta: "under no circumstances" should East Timorese riot in the streets
Speaking to the BBC, the exiled East Timorese opposition leader said his people were the first victims of the Suharto regime and he said it was important to avoid unnecessary bloodshed.

He called for Indonesia to transform itself into what he called a true democratic country, a place where the army could not dictate the future.

"Worst choice"

Mr Horta decried the choice of J.B. Habibie to replace Indonesia's President Suharto in an interview with the Portuguese radio, and predicted that he would last only a few weeks in office.

"This is the worst choice. A very weak man has been chosen, a person without a strong personality, without charisma," Mr Horta said.

"What Indonesia needs now is a person with real credibility in the eyes of society and of the international community, in order to obtain the confidence of financial circles. Indonesia needs to stabilize very quickly, to regain confidence," he said.

East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 and later annexed.

The human rights organisation Amnesty International says hundreds of thousands of people have died in East Timor since the occupation began.








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