/** reg.easttimor: 2905.0 **/

** Topic: Mandela:"Strongest action should be taken to stop slaughter" **
** Written 9:56 PM Sep 7, 1999 by Joyo@aol.com in cdp:reg.easttimor **
Subject: Mandela:"Strongest action should be taken to stop slaughter"

S.Africa's Mandela urges U.N. action in East Timor

PRETORIA, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Former South African President Nelson Mandela on Tuesday condemned the violence in East Timor and called on the United Nations to take firm action to stop the bloodshed.

``I hope the U.N. will not show any weakness in this regard. It is one issue where the strongest action should be taken against any government which has decided to slaughter innocent people including men, women, children and the aged,'' Mandela said during a function at the University of Pretoria.

``I condemn (the violence) in the strongest terms,'' he said.

``This is a matter for the United Nations and I hope it will take firm action to prevent the wastage of human life as is happening there,'' Mandela added.

International pressure is mounting for a peacekeeping force to end an orgy of slaughter by anti-independence militias in the territory set off by last week's referendum rejecting Indonesia's rule.

Mandela, a Nobel Prize-winning revolutionary turned statesman, has long taken a keen interest in the independence struggle in East Timor, a former Portuguese colony invaded by Indonesia in 1975 and annexed the following year.

The South African government said on Monday a group of 11 South Africans who did electoral duty in East Timor have been evacuated in the wake of the violence.

Pretoria has expressed alarm and concern at the eroding situation in East Timor and urged the Indonesian government to protect its people.

Mandela, who retired as president in June, was at the University of Pretoria to receive documents from his treason trial in the late 1950s.

06:58 09-07-99

** End of text from cdp:reg.easttimor **