Subject: East Timor press headlines/26April2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines ­ Thursday 26 April 2001

1. Bishop Belo and Xanana meet CPD-RDTL’s Aitahan Matak and Cristiano 
2. Bishop Belo: Leaders must address grassroots’ concerns 
3. Tragedy that befell the president’s wife

1. Bishop Belo and Xanana meet CPD-RDTL’s Aitahan Matak and Cristiano (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)

The Bishop of Dili Carlos Filipie Ximenes Belo and CNRT President Xanana Gusmao yesterday met with CPD-RDTL leaders Antonio Aitahan Matak and Cristiano da Costa. Also present at the meeting was ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral.

The meeting, closed to reporters, was held at Bishop Belo’s residence in Lecidere.

Later talking to reporters Xanana said the meeting discussed about the large numbers of people from the districts congregating around the Liberty Center.

Xanana said the meeting was to urge the political leaders to request their followers to return back home to the districts.

“The meeting was more worried about the large numbers of people, from the districts, who have been in Dili for over a week,” said Xanana.

When questioned on the political differences between the political elites and those who were rallying in Lecidere, Xanana said the most important right now is for district people to return home.

“Let them return home and then we will sit down and talk about these political differences.

Xanana told reporters he supported all political parties in the country.

“It’s against my principles to compromise with this party or that political group. I respect the National Unity Pact which calls for unity among all the parties,” said Xanana.

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2. Bishop Belo: Leaders Must Address Grassroots’ Concerns (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page second lead)

The leader of the Dili diocese Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo reminded leaders of political parties to have more contacts with the grassroots so that they could see with their own eyes the conditions under which people are living in. This, said Bishop Belo, would make political leaders be more realistic in their aspirations to build the country.

“There have been many complaints from the people that political leaders are reluctant to turn to the grassroots,” said Bishop Belo when he met reporters after the meeting with CPD-RDTL leaders.

Commenting on the district people outside the Liberty Center, in Lecidere, Bishop Belo said they were in Dili under difficult circumstances.

“Sometimes they have food and sometimes they don’t. They’re sleeping out in the open space in unhygienic conditions,” he said.

But Bishop Belo said the political leaders had to claim responsibility of these people.

“If these people say they want to stay put for a year, the leaders of political parties must say no. Tell them that they have to go back to their villages in the districts. Tell them that they have their families there. Tell them that they have their livestock and crops to tend to. No they just can’t stay here.”

In order to overcome conflicts among the parties, Bishop Belo advised the leaders to talk often to one another.

“Many leaders don’t listen to one another and prefer instead to hit out at their rivals thorough the press,” said Belo.

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3. Tragedy That Befell The President’s Wife (Suara Timor Lorosae editorial Page 5)

The tragedy that befell Kirsty Sword Gusmao, the wife of CNRT President Xanana Gusmao, is an incident that could affect the investment climate in the country. Investor confidence is important to develop Timor Lorosae and if the security situation is not stable, potential investors will move away and put their money elsewhere.

Although Kirsty is a foreigner, she nevertheless is a Timorese citizen because she is married to Xanana ­ the leader we idolize. Kirsty is one of us and the inspiration behind Xanana.

We have to do away with the culture of violence that is present in our society. During the Indonesian occupation we resorted to violence ­ but it was for our independence and getting rid of the Indonesians from our homeland.

Now, there is no reason to resort to violence ­ especially when we are trying hard to build a society that respects democratic values and human rights.

We also have to do away with our anti-foreigner feelings because not all foreigners are bad. We have to be more tolerant if there are foreigners who act inappropriately in this country. It makes no sense if we are to retaliate with violence.

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