Subject: AP: East Timor Pro-Independence Camps Meet At Conference

February 26, 2000

East Timor Pro-Independence Camps Meet At Conference

SINGAPORE (AP)--Two groups that advocated East Timor's independence from Indonesia huddled Saturday ahead of discussions with pro-Jakarta militias aimed at reconciliation.

Officials from the Falintil pro-independence guerrilla group and the National Council for East Timor Resistance met as part of a conference organized by Sweden's Uppsala University.

Officials wouldn't say, however, what was discussed.

On Sunday, the two groups, along with officials from the pro-Jakarta Aitarak militia, will attend the conference.

Reconciliation between pro- and anti-independence fighters, the repatriation of East Timorese living in West Timor and the return of militia members returning to East Timor were on the agenda.

Violence blamed on pro-Jakarta militias after an Aug. 30 vote in which East Timor overwhelmingly decided to break away from Indonesia left the territory devastated.

More than 100,000 people are still living as refugees in Indonesian-ruled West Timor where they fled during the campaign of violence.

Eurico Gutteres and Joao Tavares of Aitarak were expected to arrive in Singapore late Saturday, a spokesman for Uppsala said on condition of anonymity.

Gutteres and six other militia commanders were named by an Indonesian government-appointed human rights investigation as being partly responsible for the violence.

The Indonesian government has given the refugees until March 31 to decide whether to remain in Indonesia or return to devastated East Timor, now administered by the United Nations.


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