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UN envoy meets jailed East Timorese rebel leader

Agence France Presse - March 27, 1997

Jakarta – The UN special envoy on East Timor on Thursday met Jose Xanana Gusmao the jailed leader of the troubled territory's pro-independence movement as part of UN efforts to reactivate a peace process.

"I met him this morning," said Jamsheed Marker, a special envoy for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for East Timor issues. Gusmao is serving a 20 year jail sentence in Jakarta jail, but Marker did not say where the meeting took place, though he said Gusmao appeared "in very good health."

Speaking to journalists at the end of his "fact finding" visit to Indonesia and East Timor, Marker called his trip "extremely valuable and useful."

"I have had the opportunity of speaking to a large spectrum of political opinions in Indonesian," Marker said, adding that he would return to New York "with a number of ideas I should be presenting to the UN secretary general."

Marker arrived March 20 and during his stay spent three days in the former Portuguese colony, invaded by Indonesia in 1975. He said he was seeking input for the UN leader to "take steps to reactivate" peace negotiations.