Subject: Prabowo Apologizes To East Timorese Living In NTT for not meeting

Prabowo Apologizes To Former East Timorese In NTT

Kupang, July 1 (Antara): Vice presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto apologized to former East Timor community members now living in East Nusa Tenggara for still being unable to meet them.

"From far away, I can feel what they now feel living in the Indonesia-Timor Leste border. Due to time constraints yesterday and also today I was not able to meet them. I am sorry and miss you. My regards to them all," he said here on Wednesday while on a campaign tour.

The former commander of the army's Kopassus special command said that they had to live with limited facilities at accommodation centers in East Nusa Tenggara because of their love for the unitary state of Indonesia.

"Their stance and choice is exemplary and worth appreciating by fellow citizens in Indonesia. Here one's nationalism is tested," he said.

He said although he had not yet had an opportunity to meet with them, he believed the togetherness that had been created before East Timor finally chose to be independent from Indonesia would not just vanish.

"They know what they have to do and on the other hand I am determined to do something for them later. So, be patient. I will come at another time later in whatever position I may be," he said.

Prabowo on the occasion also thanked the province's residents for having been willing to accept the East Timorese to live there.

"The people of East Nusa Tenggara are known for their friendly, loving and caring nature. Their attitude is exemplary and people in the country need to take it as an example. If people want to see good citizens, come and learn from the people of East Nusa Tenggara," he said.

Prabowo promised the East Timorese's fate would be better later to equal with that of other citizens.

"various efforts have been made by Indonesian citizens with regard to their assets left in East Timor but so far they have not been responded to optimally and even seemed to have been neglected for various reasons," he said.

To meet the promise, Prabowo, who in 1976 was commander of then Kopassandha's Group I assigned as part of the Nanggala Team operations in East Timor, asked for support and prayers from former East Timor residents for his bid for the country's presidency in the race on July 8.

"Your support will strengthen my will to do something for the nation in general along with Megawati Soekarnoputri for the former East Timor residents," he said.

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