Subject: AN: ET Gov Takes Half Measures in Reconciliation

E TIMOR GOVT TAKES HALF MEASURES IN RECONCILIATION

September 12, 2003 10:06pm Antara

Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Sept 12 (ANTARA) - The East Timorese government and people still took half measures in carrying out reconciliation, a local legislator has said here.

Blasius J Manek, Deputy Chairman of the Belu district legislative council of Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province, made the remark here on Friday in response to a unilateral decision to put off the reconciliation by the East Timorese government while the ex-East Timorese refugees are ready for dialogue to reach peace.

"The East Timorese government has three times postponed the reconcilation meeting while the government itself has taken the initiative and scheduled the meeting," he said.

Blasius pointed out that the reconciliation meeting among the East Timorese people had been held regularly since October, 1999, but it was suspended on December 31, 2002.

The meeting resumed in August, 2003, at the initiative of the East Timorese government, he added.

The East Timorese government realized that the presence of the ex-refugees on the border areas shared by Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province and the nascent state would sooner or later become hurdles in the newly-born country.

"However, the East Timorese government and the people take only half measures in an effort to make the reconciliation possible," he said.

The East Timorese government has three times suspended the reconciliation -- on August 29 when it was expected to be held in Oesilo area, Oecusse district, on September 4 in Pasabe, Oecusse and September 11 in Nunura, Bobonaro.

In addition, he said, there were different visions and missions on reconciliation between East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao and Attorney General Longginus Monteiro.

The president wanted the expected reconciliation meeting to involve as many grass-root people as possible to talk about their future.

Meanwhile, the attorney general wanted a limited number of participants in the reconciliation and hoped that ex-refugees who allegedly committed human rights violations in 1999 would not take part in the meeting but first follow legal process at East Timor's judiciary.

"We hope the East Timorese government would not hold the reconciliation meeting at the behest of a third party which would only take the most advantage of the meeting for their own interest. The reconciliation among the East Timorese should be held sincerely and self-reliantly," he said.

If the expcted reconciliation is still covered with suspicion among the East Timorese, they will never reach peace and the ex-refugees would remain a 'thorn' in the country's independence, he said.

He said the ex-East Timorese were greatly disappointed by the postponement of the reconciliation meeting as they have expressed readiness to have dialogue with their brothers and sisters while forgeting the past experience and trying to make peace for their children and grandchildren.

East Timor has unilaterally cancelled the third round of a reconciliation meeting among Timorese which was to have been held in Nunura, Bobonaro district, East Timor on Thursday.

"We received word on the cancellation from Valentino Soares, secretary to the East Timorese President, by phone," said Ganip Warsito, an East Nusatenggara provincial official dealing with affairs affecting ex-East Timorese refugees.

The news on the cancellation came as representatives of ex-East Timorese refugees residing in East Nusatenggara were on the point of leaving for Nunura to attend the meeting, Ganip said.

According to Ganip, the reason for the cancellation was a difference of opinion between East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao and Attorney General Longginus Monteiro about the number of ex-refugee representatives allowed to attend the meeting.

Xanana was for letting the ex-refugees be represented by 38 people while Longginus insisted that the ex-refugees could send only 16 delegates to the reconciliation meeting.

East Timor officially seceded from Indonesia in October 1999 as a consequence of the pro-independence camp's victory in the UN-organized popular consultation held on August 30, 1999.

The territoty integrated into Indonesia in 1976 but the UN never recognized the integration process.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)


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