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Timorese demonstrate to greet Australian prime minister
19 June 2002
Today on the eve of the independence ceremonies for East Timor many of the international delegates arrived to address the press. At one press conference was the Australian president (sic) John Howard who was greeted by members of the International Solidarity Movement of West Papua and Aceh.
Young and old they were holding signs stating, "hands off our oil and Now economic independence!" They are also calling for new negotiations in the issue of the Timor Gap which was initially negotiated without the participation of the Timorese people.
In an interview with one the organizers he states, "we have a new parliament tonight and one is not in place as of yet so we are calling for new negotiations involving the Timor Gap with our new government and for Xanana and the internationals to take a position on the liberation of West Papua and Aceh."
Aceh is on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia and West Papua became the twenty-sixth province of Indonesia in 1969 after the "Act of Free Choice", sponsored by the UN, saw the transfer of official administration from The Netherlands, the colonial power, to Indonesia. Both are experiencing the same brutal occupation by the Indonesian militia with the help of international interests like that of new nation of East Timor.
When questioned about the issue of West Papua and Aceh many internationals respond with "it's an internal matter." In an interview of Xanana it was interesting to hear the new President of a country that internationals once said "it's an internal matter," when dealing with East Timor for him to respond in the same manner.
The Timorese, Australians and Papuans who demonstrated today circulated a letter which they sent to the new incoming President of East Timor stating demands dealing with the situation of West Papua and Aceh. They demand the tonight in his public address that he recognize the situation and call for an end to the occupation.
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