Subject: Lusa: East Timor: Gusmao against compensation to victims of violence

East Timor: Gusmao against compensation to victims of violence

20-06-2002 19:52:00 GMT


East Timor`s President Xanana Gusmao said Thursday that he was opposed to any Timorese receiving compensation or war reparations for violence commited during the Indonesian occupation and 1999 militia rampage, as "sentiments cannot be sold".

"I won't accept that any Timorese victim of violence receives any compensation. It is a bad business. What is 'war reparation anyway?' It is plugging wounds with money and material goods", said Gusmao.

"We are selling sentiments and I don't accept this. I never will...that people sell their grief", said the Timorese president, speaking on his return from a trip to Australia and his first overseas official visit.

Gusmao also said he would continue to hold contacts with pro- Indonesian, ex-militiamen still in West Timor, despite some opposition in East Timor to his reconciliation efforts.

"I will continue and it is part of my manifesto to do this, and I'll achieve it, hurting whom it hurts", Gusmao said.

Asked by Lusa to comment on the current Timorese situation, a month after independence, Gusmao reiterated his address to the nation last week in which he placed his faith in "a common consciousness".

"We all have to contribute in the best way. There has to be a spirit of continual vigilance so that all continue in a combined effort to improve the situation", said Timor`s head of state.

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