Subject: Gusmao to visit W. Timor next month to boost refugee repatriation

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Agence France-Presse October 24, 2002

Gusmao to visit West Timor next month to boost refugee repatriation

Jakarta -- East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao will pay a four-day visit to Indonesia's West Timor from November 1 to try to encourage thousands of refugees to come home, an Indonesian official said Thursday.

Gusmao will meet Indonesian officials in the main town Kupang and visit two nearby refugee camps, said the head of the Indonesian representative office in the East Timor capital Dili, Kristio Wahyono.

Gusmao would lead a delegation of around 100 including artists, athletes and reconciliation officers, Wahyono told AFP.

They would also travel to Kefamananu and Atambua to visit other refugee camps e before returning by land to Dili on November 4.

"He (Gusmao) has specifically asked that he be allowed to overnight in Atambua and we are still preparing that," Wahyono told AFP.

Atambua is the closest large Indonesian town to the border. It is the main town in Belu district which has been home to the bulk of the East Timorese refugees since 1999.

Gusmao has scheduled several meetings with exiled East Timorese leaders in Atambua.

More than 250,000 East Timorese fled or were forced by militias to flee to West Timor following the militia-orchestrated violence in East Timor after its people voted overwhelmingly in August 1999 to break away from Indonesia.

The UN refugee agency said Thursday there are an estimated 30,000 refugees still in West Timor.

In July Gusmao received red carpet treatment when he made his first visit to Indonesia since East Timor became independent on May 20 after 31 months of UN stewardship.

But East Timor's independence is still considered an affront by sections of the Indonesian military.

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