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South Africa's invites Timorese leaders to visit in September

Lusa - August 4, 1997

Pretoria – The South African President, Nelson Mandela, has said he invited East Timorese leaders to visit the African country in September.

He told also reporters on Friday that Indonesia's President General Suharto will visit Pretoria in November, as part of Mandela's recent initiative to assist the United Nations (U.N.) to find a solution for the troubled territory of East Timor.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it one year later but the U.N. still regards Portugal as the territory's administering power.

Portugal has supported the territory's demands for the right of self-determination.

East Timorese Bishop D. Ximenes Belo, confirmed on Friday that he had accepted Mandela's invitation "in principle" and said he would visit South Africa in September or October, South Africa's presidency spokesman, Parks Mankahlana said.

Belo, together with activist Jose Ramos Horta were awarded the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to seek a peaceful solution for East Timor.