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Timorese resistance has reservations about South African initiative

Text of report by Portuguese radio - July 28, 1997

The UDT [Timorese Democratic Union] has reservations regarding [South African President] Nelson Mandela's diplomatic initiative on East Timor. The leader of UDT, one of the factions of the Timorese resistance, has said that caution is needed. There should be no euphoria over Mandela's interest in meeting the two Nobel Peace laureates [Timorese resistance spokesman abroad Jose Ramos Horta, who met Mandela over the weekend, and Bishop of Dili Dom Ximenes Belo, who has said he is presently too busy to go to South Africa] and Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio for a session [of talks] this week in Pretoria.

On arrival in Macao this morning, [UDT leader] Joao Carrascalao said he was surprised at Mandela's initiative, because Indonesia is interested in buying weapons from South Africa.

[Carrascalao]... Nelson Mandela's proposal, because it emerges after his visit to Jakarta. Had it emerged before his visit, had he contacted the people concerned, the Portuguese government and the UN before, it would have been much easier for everyone. Happening when it did, it gives us the impression that it is bringing a message from someone and that that someone is not really the people who have been on our side, Portugal and those who have been seeking a just solution, the UN. It appears to bring a message from Jakarta and, at a time when Nelson Mandela is trying to sell weapons to Jakarta, it is obvious we must have some reservations regarding his initiative. Despite the fact that in Portugal there is great euphoria, great optimism, because of Nelson Mandela's enormous prestige in the international community as a political fighter, the UDT thinks that his initiative was launched at the wrong time.