POLITICS, NATIONAL, DILI

“Victorious result of Popular Consultation Day came from Timorese people,” says Horta

“Victorious result of Popular Consultation Day came from Timorese people,” says Horta

Photo Tatoli/António Daciparu

DILI, 24 august 2022 (TATOLI) – The President of the Republic, José Ramos Horta said the victorious result of the Popular Consultation Day, on august 30, 1999, came from the whole Timorese people.

On august 30, 1999, with courage and determination, the Timorese people expressed their wish for the independence of Timor-Leste.

On september 4, 1999, UN officials announced in Dili that the people of East Timor voted by 78.5 percent for independence and rejected the proposed special autonomy within Indonesia.

Therefore, Popular Consultation Day is considered one of Timor-Leste’s historic days. This day commemorates every year to remember the referendum which paved way for East Timorese self-determination.

“As you are well aware, 23 years ago, our charismatic leader Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão with his intelligence rejected the postponement of the Popular Consultation Day, proposed by the UN and Portugal. At that time, Gusmão rejected the idea of the postponement and preferred to have an immediate referendum on autonomy (with integration into Indonesia) or independence for East Timor. The referendum was finally realized and we won,” Horta told reporters in Mandarin, Dili, on wednesday.

He said the victorious result of the Popular Consultation Day was the fight of the Timorese people.

“Of course, we also have the historic leaders of Armed Front, including Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, Taur Matan Ruak, Lere Anan Timur, Falur Rate Laek, just to name a few. We also have other leaders of the Diplomatic and Clandestine Front, the catholic church and the religious leaders,” Horta emphasized.

Horta said: “So, with the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of Popular Consultation Day, I pay my homage to our Great Heroes Nicolau Lobato, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, and many other national heroes.”

Popular consultation – Yes to Independence

In 1996, José Ramos Horta and the bishop of Dili, D. Ximenes Belo, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their dedication to the defense of human rights and independence of Timor-Leste.

In 1998, with Suharto’s resignation and the end of the “Indonesian economic miracle”, B.J.Habibie was immediately sworn in as President. He later announced that he was willing to hold a referendum on autonomy (with integration into Indonesia) or independence for East Timor. The referendum took place on august 30, 1999, with the participation of more than 90%, 78.5% of the East Timorese favored independence and rejected the autonomy suggested by Indonesia.

Nevertheless, pro-Indonesia militias went on a rampage, assaulting UNAMET headquarters (the observers of the United Nations) and forcing Bishop Ximenes Belo to flee to Australia, while Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão took refuge in the British embassy in Jakarta. The wave of murders continued, promoted by the anti-independence militias and supported by members of the Indonesian army dissatisfied with the referendum results.

 

 

Journalist: Filomeno Martins

Editor: Nelia Borges

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