Subject: Falintil commander says militia back from W Timor, not a threat

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts Saturday, November 27, 1999 Source: 'Kupang Pos' web site, Kupang, in Indonesian 25 Nov 99

Falintil commander says militia back from West Timor, not a threat

Atambua: Most of the militia supposedly "roaming" around East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) [West Timor] with refugees, were now back in East Timor. They were healthy and not being harassed by others in their villages.

This statement was made to journalists in the local dialect of Tetum by the Deputy Commander of [Pro-independence guerrillas] Falintil, Taur Matan Ruak, while in the border region of Motaain, East Tasifeto, Belu on Monday (22nd November).

Ruak went to Motaain with Interfet [International Force for East Timor] and UNTAET [UN Transitional Administration for East Timor] troops to participate in a meeting with the Indonesian military and police, US Ambassador to the UN Holbrooke, US Ambassador to Indonesia Gelbard, military officials, staff of the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and members of the NTT regional government.

When asked by journalists if Falintil planned to unite the militia, both pro-independence and pro-integration, Ruak responded that there were no plans to do this but claimed that they were looking for an opportunity to communicate with militia leaders.

"There is no conflict between the CNRT (National Council of East Timorese Resistance) militia and Falintil in East Timor. If you do not believe me then ask those East Timorese who have already returned," he said.

When asked about refugees' reluctance to return to East Timor because they feared mistreatment, Ruak admitted that such cases existed, but that it was no longer an issue. "Conditions in East Timor are now safe for refugees," said Ruak.

"I ask the refugees to return to East Timor as soon as possible because the situation there is safe. We are all East Timorese, including the militia, and we must build a new Timor together," he said.

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