Subject: Eurico Gutteres: Conspiracy to Assassinate E. Timor Militias

Detikworld, September 14, 2000

Exclusive Interview with Eurico Gutteres: Conspiracy to Assassinate Militias

Reporter: Abdul Haerah / BI & GB

Kupang--Detikworld interviewed notorious Aitarak militia commander Eurico Gutteres in Kupang, capital of West Timor and East Nusa Tengara province, Tuesday 12/9/2000.

One of the pro- Indonesia/ integration side's most prominent leaders, he believes that the Atambua tragedy, when 3 UNCHR workers were killed in an attack on the UNHCR offices in Atambua, is a part of a conspiracy to finish off militia leaders. Guterres believes that pro independence members have infiltrated pro-integration strong holds and that the attack on the UNHCR's offices is proof. He also said that the heads of militia leaders are worth Rp10 million.

In an exclusive interview with detikworld, Guterres expressed his disappointment over many aspects of the situation after the referendum. He believes that the UN has only favoured the pro-independence East Timorese. Nevertheless, he is willing to sit at the same table with his old nemesis, Xanana Gusmao, leader of the CNRT (Conselho National de Resistancia Timorese: National Councel of Timorese Resistance).

Guterres said he wanted to discuss with Gusmao the division of the territory independent East Timor and that the Indonesian government should provide the pro- intergation/ Indonesia members with an uninhibited island where they could establish their own settlement.

Here follows the complete transcript:

There is an assumption that the murder of the 3 UNCHR workers was committed by former members of the pro-integration militia?

This has become a problem. Why do I say that? I think the accusers are just from other countries. I can't understand this. Even the UN accused us, do they think by blaming someone the problem will be solved. Or don't they feel the need to establish an investigation team to probe this case. If the UN directly accused the pro integration (of being) behind this (incident), that's not what you call the UN. I can understand if the accusation came from Australia or Portugal, but from the UN. No. I don't want to talk more about this topic.

What is your reaction regarding the UN resolution to disarm militia members?

I believe that it is not purely the UN's (intention). There is pressure from the US. The UN is still under the control of the USA. The UN needs to be totally reformed. The disarmament issue, if I may say, do not just talk about it (without proof). Lets view the problem clearly. Why do I say that? Its because the pro integration (militia) have already been disbanded last year, on the 13th of November 99. Officially, the pro integration (militia) have been disbanded. All their weaponry has been surrendered and taken by the military and the police and many handed them over voluntarily. These days, there's no more. If we are forced to disband, I think people can't be forced. Our organisations have been disbanded but there is a bound that keeps us united. I often have hundreds of subordinates in my house because they still regard me as their leader. If there is an accusation that Indonesians have given us weapon, the weapons that we are talking about are the 130,000 pro integrationists. But if there is still suspicion, then go ahead, disarm the militias.

What was actually the motif behind the murder of the 3 UNCHR workers?

Lets look at the available autopsy, the victims were stabbed/slashed by sharps weapons, machetes. There were no firearms. There were no bullets. This means that the murders were a spontaneous reaction by Olivio's supporters and the people around them who were disappointed by the UNCHR. One thing needs to be known, that we have good intentions. When Olivio's body was taken from Betun to Atambua (for burial), we had warned the UNCHR staff from Kupang via a messenger to leave their office to avoid such problems. The distance between the UNCHR office and the Betun Municipality Legislative Council is only 100m. Some ignored the warning. Those who survived listened to the warning. Whereas the 3 opted to stay in their office.

Do you deny was the actions of former pro integration militia?

That was a spontaneous reaction by the people.

Do you think there is a conspiracy to finish off all militia leaders? I think so. A month before Olivio's death, there was infiltration by the CNRT and behind them are those who pay. Whoever successfully knocks us off will be paid Rp 10 million per head.

East Timor's problem has resurfaced after Atambua's incident. What do you think is the best solution?

To solve the problem in East Timor thoroughly, there needs to be a party who wants to solve the problem, in this matter the UN. Is the UN neutral, fair and honest or not? That's the key point. If its presence in the region is neutral, fair and honest, I believe that the peace process can be achieved as desired by international community and Indonesia, especially the East Timorese. If not, it will be difficult for anyone to find the right solution. Why? Because what you call the UN should think neutral without looking at the background of person A or person B. But in reality the UN has tended to embrace Xanana (Gusmao). He was their golden child. The East Timorese pro-integration supporters became the abused step child. This is a fact, since the UN force came, Xanana and his group, Falintil and their group, CNRT and their group, wherever UNTAET was these groups were also there. They even ate together at the UNAMET headquarters.

These groups then spread rumours that pro-integrationists could not speak English. But a lot of the pro integrationists have degrees, masters, even Ph.D. What was odd however was that it became an issue that pro independence supporters were the only ones who could speak English. I believe that the solution to solve the crisis in Eat Timor is for the UN to act fair, neutral and honest.

Now this is a starting point for talking about human rights abuses in East Timor. If we talk about this, I want to say that no one in East Timor has clean hands. All East Timorese from Fretilin, UDT, Kouta, Polista and Apodeti, (the main political parties-ed.) all of them have blood on their hands. Their hands are all dirty.

But now, they wash their hands (and act) as if they're angels. If we go back to these 5 parties, we should just talk honestly. If they say they haven't killed someone before, prove it.

What about the future relationship between Pro Integration and CNRT? Especially between you and Xanana?

There is a need for a process of reconciliation. But it definitely requires time also. It's already impossible that Xanana and I could become 1, let alone become 1 in a country called Timor Lorosae. I think (that is) the best way to avoid human right offences, for example, I also ask that Xanana be generous and fully understand the problems.

I ask for there to be a division of the territory so that we'll have everlasting peace, the people of East Timor. Before, we hoped the arrival of the UN would resolve the problems but it ha brought great disaster. Because them we killed and burned each other. There's group in East Timor and there's groups in NTT (Nusa Tenggara Timor: East Nusa Tenggara province which covers West Timor- ed.). So it's become difficult. The best and only solution is a division of the territory.

Do you think you need to meet Xanana?

I think it's necessary. But the problem is that UNTAET which is supposed to facilitate and carry it out (meeting Xanana- ed.) has not done anything at all. They have the say. This has been one sided affair and UNTAET never wanted me to meet Xanana. I asked myself, what's up with this? Are they trying to use the situation for the sake of the international community or is it the oil field in the area or what? I wanted to meet but it had never happened as if we weren't worth anything. Politically and under the agreement signed on the 5/5/99 with the pro independence group, the international community recognised us. After independence won, all of that's gone. This confuses me.

Do you believe your meeting with Xanana will reduce the tension?

I believe so, but it also depends on Xanana. Whether he wants it or not. I want it if there is a meeting in which we can discuss the process of improving East Timor. But I warn Xanana not to exert his will. So far he has promised that the East Timorese in NTT will be allowed to return to East Timor but with conditions attached . First you must recognised East Timor Independence. Second you must be punished. Third you will be regarded as a second class citizen

I think its difficult for us. My desire is that, even though East Timor has gained independence and belongs to East Timorese, there should not be a winner and looser. The freedom should belong totally to the people of East Timor. And therefore there's no need for first or second class citizens.

Do you challenge Xanana to sit at the same table?

I challenge him, but using military power or a frontal attack. I challenge him with dialogue. I want to know how far Xanana wants to develop East Timor. To build a nation there must be a clear concept. If the concept's clear we think about the next steps. But if it just makes things more difficult for the people of East Timor, then we must reject it.

The refugee problem, currently their condition is cause for concern. What's your advice to the government?

I have conveyed all the best advice to the government and also to several media organisations. The best solution is for the government not to merely send us 'fish' but provide us with fishing nets. To use the line and hooks the government should also provides the refugees with an empty island within the state as there are many islands. If the central government really respected us and remembers the last 23 years, move us onto that island. There we can govern ourselves, because between us we already have governors, regents, parliament representatives and community. What's startling is that after a year the government is still sending the 'fish' and never changes to send us the 'nets'. And it still allows the people in the camps to be mere refugees.

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