A delegation from East Timor has presented a petition to President Suharto of Indonesia requesting the immediate integration of East Timor with Indonesia.
DELEGATION GATHERING OUTSIDE MERDEKA FALACE, DJAKARTA: INSIDE PALACE, MEETING PRESIDENT SUHARTO: DELEGATION LEADERS SPEAKING, PRESIDENT REPLYING: GV CROWDS AND DELEGATION MEETING CABINET.
This film is serviced with an English commentary by reporter, Peter Munckton, of the Australian Broadcasting Commission.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A delegation from East Timor has presented a petition to President Suharto of Indonesia requesting the immediate integration of East Timor with Indonesia.
The petition was presented to the President at the Merdeka Palace in Djakarta. The document was the result of a meeting of the Provisional Timor Assembly which last week voted unanimously to request a "swift integration with Indonesia."
Members of the Assembly flew to Djakarta and were escorted immediately to the Presidential Palace. President Suharto told the Assembly delegates that he felt he was "meeting brothers long separated from Indonesia by the powers of colonialism."
Replying to accusations that the vote for integration with Indonesia by the Assembly did not reflect the wishes of the majority of the people of East Timor, President Suharto said independence wasn't a matter of recognition by others but was a "decision of the people's will and decision."
The President said he received the request for integration with feelings of gratitude, confidence and responsibility. However, before accepting the request he said the Indonesian Government must be sure that the decision of the Assembly was "really the decision of the majority of the people." He said the Indonesian Government would send a team of officials and parliamentarians to East Timor to assure to themselves that the people there "really desired integration with Indonesia."
It is expected that the Indonesian delegation will recommend the acceptance of the East Timorese request for integration and United Nations observers are also expected to be invited to the Timerese ??? of Dili to witness the formal integration ceremony. However, sources in Indonesia say that diplomatic involvement in any such ceremony will be sparse as many countries do not recognise the Assembly as adequately representing the wishes of the majority of the people of East Timor. Of 23 foreign embassies invited to attend the recent meeting of the taken-------only seven responded. The other foreign representatives declined to attend on the grounds that the act of self determination was being sponsored by the Indonesian Government.