Subject: AN: Int'l Tribunal not a priority says Gusmao


New York, April 5 (ANTARA) - Asking the international community to try those involved in criminal actions in East Timor is not a priority to the East Timorese at the moment, East Timorese Resistance Council`s (CNRT) former president, Xanana Gusmao, said here Tuesday night.

"We cannot even think of the international tribunal because we have so many things to do," Gusmao told students, lecturers, lawyers and non-governmental organization activists at Columbia University`s School of Law in New York.

The East Timorese` priorities at present are community health, education and job opportunities, he said.

Gusmao, who was accompanied by his wife Kirsty Sword Gusmao and his one-year-old son, urged the international community to make donations to the newborn state.

In the total destruction of the territory in September 1999, East Timor had lost many buildings and facilities, he said.

He noted that some US$ 14 million has recently been spent to provide educational facilities in East Timor.

"Yet so many children going to school still do not have tables and chairs," he pointed out.

Gusmao also asked the international community to support political reconciliation in East Timor.

Political reconciliation is needed to develop the country, he stressed, adding that an international tribunal could not help the East Timorese fulfill their needs.

"What we want to do now is to boost political reconciliation, and this is one of the reasons why I resigned as president of the council," he added.

Two weeks ago, Gusmao sent a letter to the chief of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), Sergio Vieira de Mello, regarding his resignation from the council.

De Mello later installed Jose Ramos Horta to replace Gusmao.

Asked whether he sees Aceh and Irian Jaya as its allies (the same as East Timor), he said what has been happening in Aceh and Irian Jaya is completely different from East Timor`s experience. 

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