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East Timorese abroad to hold congress in Lisbon next March

Agence France Presse - November 4, 1997

Lisbon – East Timorese abroad will hold a national congress here next March, called by independence leader Xanana Gusmao, who is serving a 20-year prison term in Indonesia, resistance sources said Tuesday.

The congress is to consider a charter of rights, freedoms and guarantees to be applied in the former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1976, they said.

Object of the congress, Xanana said in a letter to resistance leaders, is the reinforcement of national unity around a credible leader and strategy.

The sources said congress organizers intended to invite "all East Timorese fighting for self-rule and for national independence" of the territory.

The annexation of East Timor has never been recognized by the United Nations, which still considers Portugal to be the administrative power of its former colony.