Subject: LUSA: Bishop Belo Prays for Peace at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine

21 May 01 10:01 East Timor: Bishop Belo Prays for Peace at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine

The spiritual leader of East Timor, Catholic Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, prayed for peace and reconciliation among his people Sunday at Portugal' Our Lady of Fatima shrine, warning against political radicalism that twice submerged the territory under waves of violence.

Addressing pilgrims at Portugal' holiest Catholic shrine, the Nobel Peace laureate said it was appropriate "to pray for peace in Timor at the feet of Our Lady" so that his country could "continue having peace and tranquility".

Acknowledging there was a "certain radicality" among some emerging Timorese parties, Bishop Belo urged calm and unity to avoid a repetition of the 1975 civil war, which served Indonesia as a pretext to invade and annex the territory, and of the pro-Indonesia rampage at the time of the 1999 independence plebiscite.

He said he was hopeful because the East Timorese had "struggled for 24 years" for independence and democracy and people were "registering en masse" for August constituent assembly elections.

SAS -Lusa-

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