Subject: E Timor's Gusmao: Pro-Indonesian Militias Still A Threat [+TNI statement]

also: [Antara] Certain elite group still attempting to motivate former militiamen to reoccupy East Timor -TNI spokesman

Associated Press April 20, 2001

E Timor's Gusmao: Pro-Indonesian Militias Still A Threat

JAKARTA (AP)--Independence leader Xanana Gusmao called Friday for reconciliation between East Timor and former occupying power Indonesia, but said U.N. troops would remain in his country until Jakarta reins in anti-independence militias.

"There is nothing motivating us against the Indonesian people (or) the Indonesian regime, who we know are trying to make the democratic process a success," Gusmao told a gathering of analysts, businessmen and diplomats in Jakarta.

Gusmao spent eight years in an Indonesian prison before his release two years ago. He has frequently visited Jakarta since the 1999 U.N. independence referendum that ended 24 years of Indonesian occupation of his homeland.

Gusmao, who enjoys wide personal popularity in the territory, commanded East Timor's resistance movement for most of that time.

He has vowed that he will not run for president of the new nation, which is currently under U.N. administration.

However, most observers expect him to give in to public pressure and become East Timor's first head of state when it gains independence next year.

Speaking at the seminar, Gusmao warned that the 7,000 U.N. troops will remain in East Timor until Jakarta dismantles the brutal pro-Indonesian militia gangs that killed hundreds of people and devastated much of the province in the wake of the independence ballot.

Most militiamen fled to neighboring, Indonesian-held West Timor, which they have used as a base for armed cross-border incursions.

"As long as the militias are not disarmed and are allowed to threaten the building of the democratic process in our country, the U.N. peacekeeping force will continue assisting the East Timorese in building security and stability," Gusmao said.


Kupang, Apr 20 (ANTARA) - Chief of the Indonesian Defence Forces Information Service Rear Marshal Gaito Usodo said a certain elite group is still attempting to motivate former militiamen of the pro-integration group to reoccupy East Timor.

"The group concerned wants to capitalize on the opportunity to seek their popularity only. But, I again stress here that such an intention will never turn to a reality," he told the press at the El Tari airport of Kupang on Thursday.

He further explained that the Indonesian Defence Forces (TNI) would never tolerate the actions or attitude of a certain group that contradicted the outlook and stance of the Indonesian people who have recognized and accepted the independence of East Timor.

"We should accept the independence of our neighbor (East Timor) kindheartedly, for the international community has recognized it. Therefore, all people or nation should respect East Timor`s sovereignty," he said.

The existence of the "brigade" was a topic of heated debate within the army`s elite, between the TNI headquarters and the Udayana regional military commander.

Then, the issue subsided after Udayana regional military commander Willem T da Costa stated his resolve to take firm action against the brigade whose members mostly live near the border with East Timor

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