Subject: Lusa: Responsibility for Destruction Should Not be Individualized - Gusma

East Timor: Responsibility for Destruction Should Not be Individualized - Gusma 30 Oct-19:26

Responsibility for the devastation that followed East Timor's 1999 independence plebiscite should not be "individualized," East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao said Monday in Lisbon.

Gusmao was queried about whether he believed Eurico Guterres, leader of the notorious anti-independence Aitarak militia, should be brought to trial. "Eurico is a piece in this game. Although he acted directly in the destruction, some pro-autonomy leaders are more responsible for all the destruction. Some Indonesian generals should also take more of the blame than Eurico," he replied.

The president of both the East Timor National Council (legislature) and the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT - the territory's umbrella leadership body) arrived in Portugal Saturday. On Tuesday, the northern Portuguese University of Oporto will award honorary degrees to Gusmao and to East Timor's top diplomat, Jose Ramos Horta, and the bishop of Dili, Carlos Ximenes Belo.

Earlier Monday, Gusmao met in Lisbon with Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama to discuss Lisbon's support for East Timor's transition to independence.

Gama explained that euros 29.5 million of the euros 75 million earmarked for East Timor in 2001 was for support in the areas of education, health and reconstruction of infrastructures. Over euros 2.35 million is for technical and military cooperation, he added.

"It is a big effort (...) if we take into account that total Portuguese cooperation in 2001 reaches euros 380 million. Euros 169 million will be applied in Africa and euros 75 million in East Timor," the Lisbon minister said.

Gama emphasized that the East Timor aid commitment did not reduce "cooperation with other countries, namely the Portuguese- speaking African countries."

Xanana Gusmao thanked Portugal, on behalf of the East Timorese people, for its support for the territory.

Regarding the refugees still across the border in West Timor, Gusmao said the question was difficult and that they can only urge the Indonesian government and military to provide the necessary support. "Internally, we are ready in all districts to receive them," he added.

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