Subject: JP: Milita leader, Xanana agree to end hostility

The Jakarta Post November 28, 2001

Milita leader, Xanana agree to end hostility

Yemris Fointuna, The Jakarta Post, Kupang

East Timor's charismatic leader Jose Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmao and former pro-Jakarta militia leader Joao Tavares agreed on Tuesday to end their hostility and to work together for peace in East Timor through reconciliation.

Xanana and Tavares reached the agreement in a closed-door meeting in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara.

Xanana arrived here on Monday for a three-day visit with his main mission being reconciliation with East Timorese refugees and pro-Jakarta East Timor leaders in the province. He was accompanied by his wife, Kirsty Sword Gusmao, and son, Alexandre Sword Gusmao, during his visit.

Xanana said that his meeting with Tavares was part of a reconciliation effort to achieve a holistic repatriation. "I and Tavares talked about reconciliation. I also underlined that reconciliation would only work if there was a legal system. And Tavares agreed with this idea," he said.

Tavares concurred, saying that he and Xanana had agreed not to sow the seeds of warfare and hatred in the children of East Timor. "Hostility and strife will not end if there is no reconciliation," he said.

"I and Xanana talked about how to bring peace to East Timor. We also agreed to end our conflict."

They agreed to support the process of repatriation of the East Timorese refugees now living in camps in West Timor in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province.

Xanana said that he hoped that his visit would encourage refugees to return to their villages in Timor Lorosae (East Timor), especially after the establishment of a reconciliation commission.

"We hope that refugees returning to their villages can live in peace together with their brothers under the supervision of the commission, even though they previously had different political views," he added.

On his talks with Archbishop Mgr. Petrus Turang Pr., Xanana said that he expressed his gratitude to the bishop for the service he had done for the East Timor refugees living in East Nusa Tenggara province.

"I personally ask the Kupang bishop to pray for us, the East Timorese people, so that we can live in and enjoy peace. I also appeal to the bishop to help facilitate the repatriation process," Xanana said.

Bishop Mgr. Petrus Turang said the Kupang diocese fully supported the efforts to create peace in East Timor.

"I pray for true and lasting peace for the people of East Timor" he said.

Meanwhile, Nani Kosapilawan, spokesman for the East Nusa Tenggara provincial administration, said the passenger ship Patricia Anne Hotung belonging to the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) would arrive in the city on Wednesday to transport more than 100 East Timorese families back home.

"Governor Piet A. Tallo has ordered officials of the relevant agencies to accompany the refugees to board the ship on Wednesday," he said at his office on Tuesday.

He said the 100 families had decided to go back home after being influenced by Xanana's visit to their camps in the province.

Nani hailed Xanana's peace mission at this time of year, just before Christmas and New Year.

"Many East Timorese refugees were impressed by Xanana's good intentions to create peace in East Timor," he said, adding that many local people came out in the city to greet Xanana and his family on Monday and Tuesday.

He said a majority of more than 143,000 East Timorese refugees were expected to follow suit and return after Xanana's reconciliatory visit, which was aimed at persuading them to return to their home land

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