Subject: DN: Militia leader wants to "work for the people"

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts September 04, 2000, Monday

Militia leader wants to "work for the people"

Source: 'Diario de Noticias' web site, Lisbon, in Portuguese 1 Sep 00

Excerpt from report by Portuguese newspaper 'Diario de Noticias' web site on 1st September

Herminio da Silva Costa, the former chief of staff of the [pro-Jakarta] militias, has complained to DN [this newspaper] about what he says is the lack of initiative of UNTAET [United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor] in promoting the return of refugees to the territory: "UNTAET is proceeding too slowly with the negotiations, I notice that it shows little interest in reconciliation," he said. And he added that when he returns to East Timor he intends to re-launch his political party and hopes "to win a few seats" in the Dili parliament.

The man who worked with the pro-Indonesia movements until the 1999 referendum said on this first anniversary of the consultation that he accepts its result: "I'm a democrat. I fought for a cause in which I believed, but I am capable of conceding defeat."

Herminio wants to return to his homeland but is disappointed with the pace of the negotiations. Speaking to DN on the telephone from Jakarta, Herminio da Costa Silva said that "UNTAET talks a lot about the return of the refugees, but it's all talk, it is not creating conditions for their safe return"...

Herminio said that those who refuse to accept the result belong to another group. "Those who are creating problems are former members of Fretilin [Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor] , some of whom were at the Santa Cruz massacre, like Eurico Guterres. They're afraid of going back because they fear being called traitors, and so they're creating problems."

Herminio was in Dili about a month ago under the protection of UNTAET, and said it had then agreed to promote the return of the refugees. But "people will only go back in the framework of a properly worked out programme". He regrets that "UNTAET is always referring to us in unfavourable terms, saying that we are responsible for the border incidents which isn't true"...

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