Subject: AN: President Xanana Hopes Ex Refugees To Return Home
President Xanana Hopes Ex Refugees To Return Home
August 24, 2003 9:37pm Antara
Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Aug 23 (ANTARA) - East Timorese President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao expressed hope that former East Timorese refugees currently residing in several parts of Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province will return to their homeland soon.
"President Xanana voiced the hope during a reconciliation meeting in the Selele border region in Kovalima district (East Timor) on Friday," chief of the Belu district military command, Lt. Col. Ganip Warsito, said here Saturday.
Organized by the representative office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Kovalima district administration, the meeting was attended by hundreds of people from Suai District in East Timor and tens of former East Timorese refugees residing in several parts of Belu district, East Nusa Tenggara.
Warsito, along with Belu Deputy District Chief Bria Yohanes, also attended the meeting.
Warsito quoted the East Timorese president as expressing hope that the people of East Timor currently residing in refugee camps in East Nusa Tenggara would always give priority to peace efforts although they had made mistakes in East Timor in the past.
Xanana said the former East Timorese refugees who wished to return to their homeland should not worry too much because East Timorese officials in charge of handling past problems in East Timor were wise enough to make a decision.
"Xanana asked the former East Timorese refugees still residing in refugee camps in East Nusa Tenggara, particularly those whose relatives now live in East Timor, to return to their homeland soon and forget their past mistakes," he said.
Xanana expected the reconciliation meeting between the people of East Timor and those in exile to be continued until the two sides were really reconciled.
Friday's meeting was the first such activity of Xanana's cabinet.
A similar meeting is expected to be held in East Timor's Oesilu District, which shares a border with Indonesia's Timor Tengah Utara district, on Friday (Aug 29).
(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)