Subject: LUSA: Truth Commission framework ready by month's end - FM Ramos Horta

15-02-2005 13:17:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-6752881 Temas:

East Timor: Truth Commission framework ready by month's end - FM Ramos Horta

Dili, Feb. 15 (Lusa) - A framework for the proposed bilateral Truth and Friendship Commission (TFC) to deal with Indonesian atrocities committed in East Timor in 1999 should be ready by the end of February, Dili's foreign minister said Tuesday.

José Ramos Horta told Lusa that Timorese consultations on creation of the body would be completed by the end of this week and that a final draft proposal would be ready for the two countries' presidents to analyze by the end of the month.

Ramos Horta spoke to Lusa after a meeting with the leader of Dili's Catholic Church, Bishop Alberto Ricardo, who has been a harsh critic of the proposed commission, suggesting publicly that the TFC could serve to sweep justice under the rug.

After his talks with the bishop, Ramos Horta said that the Timorese government and influential Catholic Church shared a common concern that justice for victims of the 1999 rampages be "the central value" of the TFC.

"I think it will be possible to find a national consensus over this initiative", he added.

Bishop Ricardo told Lusa the church's position had not changed, remaining centered on the demand that "justice must be done and the truth safeguarded".

The process, he added, should focus on "moral compensation for the victims" and on guarantees that "the evil will not be repeated and that peace and tranquility prevail".

The former head of the church in Dili, Nobel Prize-winner Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo appeared to take a more conciliatory stance toward the TFC initiative that was first announced after a meeting between President Xanana Gusmão and his Indonesian counterpart, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, last December.

Now a missionary in Mozambique, Bishop Belo, speaking to Lusa after a meeting with Gusmão Tuesday, said he backed "all initiatives that work for peace and cooperation" and "all initiatives to discover the truth".

The first priority, Belo added, was to support the bilateral "platform of understanding" and, then, "little by little focus light on the issue of justice".



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