President Thabo Mbeki has indicated that South Africa will help rebuild East Timor after the territory's 24-year independence battle. Speaking after meeting veteran East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao in Pretoria, Mbeki said SA assistance will include diplomatic pressure to stop the arming and training of anti-independence militia. Gusmao said East Timor needs not only diplomatic pressure to stop efforts to destabilise the territory, but also training programmes to help the East Timorese run their country. Gusmao, 51, was jailed in 1992 by the Indonesian government for his efforts to bring about independence in East Timor. Indonesia withdrew its troops from the small half-island last October. Gusmao was freed from prison shortly afterwards.ZA
Copyright, Daily Mail & Guardian, 2000.