Subject: Pro-Indonesia Militia Leaders Fail To Show At Peace Meeting

Also: Cancio Cancels Salele Meeting, Why? (Timor Post Editorial/21/2/01)

Associated Press February 19, 2001

Pro-Indonesia Militia Leaders Fail To Show At Peace Mtg

SUAI, East Timor (AP)--Two pro-Indonesian East Timorese militia commanders failed to attend a long-awaited reconciliation meeting on Monday with U.N. officials and local community leaders.

Cancio Lopez de Carvalho and his brother Nemecio were scheduled to join talks aimed at speeding up the repatriation of an estimated 100,000 East Timorese refugees still sheltering in camps in Indonesian-held West Timor.

"All preparations were made and we were expecting their arrival," said U.N. peacekeeping spokesman Capt. Mike Tafe. "At this stage it is unclear why they did not show, but we are prepared for any future meeting."

The brothers' failure to appear in Suai, a town close to the border with Indonesian-held West Timor, is a setback to the world body's hopes for a quick resolution to the refugee crisis.

The refugees fled East Timor after the militias, backed by sections of the Indonesian military, rampaged through the territory after it voted for independence in a U.N-sponsored ballot in 1999.

Many of the paramilitaries are living among the refugees in the border camps. They have hampered efforts by relief workers to repatriate the refugees. Last September, they attacked the U.N. office in the border town of Atambua and killed three foreign aid workers.


Cancio Cancels Salele Meeting, Why? (Timor Post Editorial/21/2/01) from Tetun

It is true that the Salele-Suai meeting was cancelled because Cancio Carvalho could not come. And the hasty statement of the UNTAET staff, who had been negotiating with the people of Ainaro on the one hand, and Cancio and others in West Timor on the other hand, demonstrates as always, the arrogance and over-ambition of UNTAET staff. The basic problem is with UNTAET itself. The agenda for the public hearing, that UNTAET conducted with about 20 persons from Ainaro, is not to discuss whether Cancio et al. can return or not. In fact, the intention of these public meetings of the last few months has not been to make a decision concerning Cancio et al.

UNTAET asked the people attending the meetings what their personal opinions were. But since then, UNTAET as usual, generalizes that the people of Ainaro want Cancio et al to return and would receive them back.

All this while, UNTAET has been informing the Timorese that it is organizing the meeting with Cancio et al., that it is ascertaining the desires of the people of Ainaro - of which UNTAET's summation is that they are ready to receive Cancio et al. Now that the meeting is cancelled - what should the people of Ainaro know? This question leads us to analyse the fact that often "other people" have used opportunities in international missions, including UNTAET, to carry out their private interest and ambition. The Timorese people recognize the presence of the UNTAET international community and its contribution in East Timor, but they do not want an international mission where interested persons, groups or nations bring suffering to the people.

This has already happened. From now on, Timorese have to start to show to the world, especially the international community working with us here, that Timorese have the capacity to be working partners and to resolve problems among themselves. They do not need other people who come in the name of the "world" and do unsatisfactory work. In the case of the cancellation of the Salele meeting, the heavy responsibility lies on Mr. Nagalingam Parameswaran, Chief of Staff of UNTAET. Today, he cannot sleep well as his strategy 'in the name' of the people of Ainaro has fallen through - the people of Ainaro are waiting for Mr. Parameswaran to explain to them. This question we also need to ask UNTAET staff: Cancio et al. want to meet with the people of Ainaro or with UNTAET? Why did Cancio cancel this meeting? Cancio knows that he needs to sit and talk together with the people of Ainaro - against whom he had been fighting but with whom he would have to live in partnership in the future - not with Mr. Parameswaram who in the year ahead would go back to his own country.

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