Subject: Gusmao meets pro-Indonesia E.Timor leaders in W. Timor

also: E. Timor security improving, de Mello says

Japan Economic Newswire/Kyodo November 24, 2000, Friday

Gusmao meets pro-Indonesia E.Timor leaders in W. Timor


East Timor leader Xanana Gusmao has met a number of pro-Jakarta East Timorese leaders taking refuge in the Indonesia's West Timor and invited them to East Timor to see the situation there for themselves.

'I invite you to see for yourselves the situation in East Timor, so you will know whether it has been safe,' Gusmao told the leaders at a post of the Indonesian Army's Strategic Reserve Command in the West Timor town of Oesilo Napan on Thursday.

The town is located near the border with the East Timor enclave of Ambeno.

'I offer you a reconciliation without conditions, so please return to East Timor, because East Timor should be built by East Timorese people, not foreigners,' Gusmao said in the meeting, details of which were made available to journalists Friday.

Former Ambeno legislative council chairman Joao Corbavo led the pro-Jakarta East Timorese groups in the meeting with Gusmao, which was facilitated by the local Indonesian military and the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

Early Friday, Corbavo left for the East Timor capital of Dili in an UNTAET helicopter to see the situation in the regions of Ambeno, Baucau, Suai and Maliana.

Meanwhile, about 2,500 East Timorese from Ambeno, who sought refuge in West Timor following the violence by pro-Jakarta East Timorese militias last year, walked 5 kilometers from the West Timor village of Haumen Ana, returning home to Ambeno.

'Next week, about 50,000 other East Timorese from Ambeno, who are currently still in West Timor, will also return home,' Corbavo said.

Corbavo added that Nemencio Carvalho, former deputy commander of the Mahidi (Life or Alive for the Integration within Indonesia) militia group, is scheduled to meet Gusmao in Dili on Monday to discuss aspects of the reconciliation between pro- and anti-independence supporters.

About 250,000 East Timorese fled East Timor for West Timor last year, seeking refuge following atrocities by militia groups after people in the former Indonesian territory voted for independence.

Half have already returned to East Timor.

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