Subject: LUSA: UDT Leader Recalls 26th Anniversary of 1975 'Hot Summer'

10 Aug 01 21:10 East Timor: UDT Leader Recalls 26th Anniversary of 1975 'Hot Summer'

The 26th anniversary of the 1975 incidents widely held to have been a coup attempt during East Timor's so-called 'hot summer' are a "moment of satisfaction" for the UDT (Timorese Democratic Union), party leader Joao Carrascalao said on Friday.

The UDT's action on August 11, 1975, is nowadays justified, as all political factions in the territory "speak the same language", Joao Carrascalao claimed. He is expected to recall the events on Saturday in Dili, during a rally of the historic pro-independence party, which is contesting the territory's August 30 Constituent Assembly elections.

The August 1975 incidents sparked a brief civil war in East Timor, during a period marked by the withdrawal of Portuguese colonial authorities. Indonesian troops invaded the following December and occupied the now UN-run territory for 24 years until the autumn of 1999.

In his Friday comments to Portuguese media, the UDT leader said that 26 years ago the movement was based on "three fundamental principles": national unity, support for independence and anti- communism". All those principles have since been adopted by all the East Timorese parties, he specified.

The 1975 movement was a "total victory" which will be "recalled with satisfaction", Joao Carrascalao said. He nevertheless stressed that the party continued to assume its responsibilities.

"We have apologized even for the victims who fell due to the fact that many people did not understand the reasons behind the movement, which was quickly publicized as being an attempted coup d'etat", he stated.

He denied that the UDT had on August 11 intended to take control of the government, claiming that the movement had aimed "to keep the Portuguese government here until we were independent".

The coup and subsequent counter-coup attempt by the rival pro- independence Fretilin movement embroiled the half-island in a brief but bloody civil war. Fretilin's unilateral declaration of independence in November 1975 was followed 11 days later by the Indonesian invasion.

JBC -Lusa-

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