Ramos Horta: 'A common struggle'

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Ramos Horta: 'A common struggle'

By Liam Mitchell

SYDNEY — The links between the struggle for freedom in East Timor and democracy in Indonesia were the focus of public meetings in Sydney and Melbourne on November 28 and December 3. Both meetings were addressed by East Timorese Resistance leader Jose Ramos Horta and an Indonesian former political prisoner and People's Democratic Party (PRD) leader, Wilson bin Nurtias.

Ramos Horta expressed his admiration of and support for the PRD in its campaigning for democracy and organisation of the student movement. He thanked the PRD for its role in raising the issue of East Timor in Indonesia, and criticised the Australian government for supporting the Indonesian military regime.

Horta said, "Our struggle is not a struggle against the people of Indonesia — quite the opposite, the struggle is a common one". The same military is responsible for the killings in Java and repression in East Timor for the past 23 years, he said.

"The agenda of the democracy movement in Indonesia is a struggle for democracy and the rule of law. Ours is a struggle for self-determination and building an independent East Timor on the basis of support for the rule of law", he said.

Horta explained ther reluctance of the Indonesian military to release East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao. They are not ready for a referendum on independence for East Timor, he said, and releasing Gusmao to a reception of half a million East Timorese would, in effect, be a referendum.

[An abridged version of Wilson's speech is printed on page 13.]

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