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INTERNATIONAL, HEADLINE

Prime Minister Gusmão confirms António Guterres to visit Timor-Leste in august

Prime Minister Gusmão confirms António Guterres to visit Timor-Leste in august

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres/Image UN

DILI, 27 june 2024 (TATOLI) – The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres will visit Timor-Leste in august to attend the celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of the Referendum (Popular Consultation) and of the INTERFET Mission, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão has confirmed.

“I have informed President Horta that we have received news about the Secretary-General, António Guterres, will attend the celebrations of the 25th Anniversary of the Referendum (Popular Consultation) and the INTERFET Mission on 30 august,” Gusmão told reporters after his regular meeting with the Head of State at the Presidential Palace in Dili, today.

In 1998, with Former Indonesian President Suharto’s resignation and the end of the “Indonesian economic miracle”, Suharto’s successor 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.

The referendum was organized by the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), with Ian Martin as head of mission.

Following the referendum, 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.

Gusmão said that the celebration of the Popular Consultation Day is to honor those who sacrificed their lives for the country’s independence.

 

Journalist: Camilio de Sousa
Editor: Filomeno Martins 

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