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Jamsheed Marker's Involvement in East Timor

Dublin Core


Jamsheed Marker's Involvement in East Timor


United Nations Mission in East Timor.
Timor-Leste -- History -- Autonomy and independence movements.


Oral history video clip featuring Jamsheed Marker, United Nations Special Envoy to East Timor. This video was originally produced by Media Entertainment, Inc., for the 2000 documentary The Genocide Factor.


Media Entertainment, Inc.


Genocide Factor Collection, Oral History Program, Tampa Library,
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


Tampa, Fla. : University of South Florida Tampa Library.




Marker, Jamsheed


Tape number: 4108D


video / mp4




Oral History



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Marker, Jamsheed


Well, I came into this—I mean, at the United Nations, I’d known East Timor was a listed item on the agenda, which came up every year, and there were certain statements that were made and the matter remained under discussion. Nothing really had been achieved until Kofi Annan took over as Secretary-General. He took over in January of ’96 and he—very shortly after that, I got a call from him saying that he’d like me to be his personal representative on the—for the East Timor question, and how would I like to try and work out the mediation? He got the consent from both the Portuguese and the Indonesian governments, and so that’s when I started my mediation efforts. At that time, of course, it was thought to be a fairly insolvable question; it’d been going on for a long, long time. I went out to Portugal, I went out to Indonesia, I went to East Timor, and took my first soundings, my first bearings, tried to get to know the people. And after that, we began a series of negotiations. We had a meeting. The Secretary-General called the two foreign ministers and we had a meeting, at which time they decided—both sides decided they would cooperate with the Secretary-General in reaching a solution. And then we took the decision to intensify the negotiations and discussions at what we called the senior officials level. So there were senior officials from Portugal, senior ambassadors who were entrusted with this job—and from Indonesia—and we’d meet once every six weeks or two months, depending on how things were going. And what I thought I would do is to start the negotiations with an acceptance of the opposite positions of both the sides: the Portuguese, that self-determination had not taken place; and the Indonesian, that self-determination had taken place. And I said, “Let’s leave that. You can have letters from each other saying this is your basic position, and then try and find something in between, some form of autonomy or special autonomy which could help to ease the tension.” And at the same time, of course, I insisted, when I went out to Indonesia, on meeting Xanana Gusmão, who was in prison and under fairly strict guard at that time. I was probably the first foreigner to meet him; I mean, I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. And I insisted on doing that, and the Suharto government permitted me to do so. So we started the negotiations on that basis.

Original Format

Beta tape




Media Entertainment, Inc., “Jamsheed Marker's Involvement in East Timor ,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed November 18, 2018,