Subject: AN: People of Covalima District in E Timor Called to Be Serious in Reconciliation

People of Covalima District in E Timor Called to Be Serious in Reconciliation

August 27, 2003 4:06am Antara

Atambua, E Nusa Tenggara, Aug 25 (ANTARA) - The people of Covalima district in East Timor are expected to show seriousness in reconciliation with their brothers and sisters living in refugee camps in Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province.

Ex-East Timorese refugee figures in East Nusa Tenggara province's capital of Atambua said on Monday reconciliation was one of requirements to reach a peaceful country.

The ex-East Timorese refugee figures expressed their expectation in connection with the resumption of reconciliation among Covalima people in Covalima district, East Timor, led by President Xanana Gusmao last Friday (Aug 22).

"No less than 20,000 ex-refugees from Covalima have returned home and now reconciliation towards repatriation resumes. We hope Covalima people would sincerely receive their brothers and sisters (ex-East Timorese refugees in East Nusa Tenggara)," an East Timorese camp leader, Carlos M. Britto, said.

Covalima district people's sincerity in receiving their brothers and sisters once taking refuge in East Nusa Tenggara is a key to make reconciliation toward repatriation a success, Carlos said.

The reconciliation means that all the Covalima people both those once living in refugee camps and Covalima residents want peace but no conflict like those occurring in 1975 and 1999, he said.

If the ex-East Timorese refugees who once supported integration with Indonesia now recognize East Timor's independence and come back to their home country, the Covalima district people must receive the return of their brothers and sisters without bringing them to jail, he said.

According to Carlos, it is not easy for an ex-refugee hailing from Covalima who has loved Indonesia for more than 23 years to change his or her political decision by receiving the fact that East Timor has been independent.

It is also not easy for the ex-East Timorese refugees to be ready to return to their home land, Carlos M. Britto said.

He further said their readiness to return home was based on humanitarian consideration as they (the ex-East Timorese refugees) did not want the horizontal conflict to recur like those in 1975 and 1999 which claimed a lot of lives.

The Covalima people should really understand the conflicts in the past, he said, adding that such an understanding must be proven by receiving their brothers and sisters once lived in refugee camps and giving them security guarantee.

East Timor officially seceded from Indonesia in October 1999 as a consequence of the pro-independence camp's victory in the United Nations-organized popular consultation held on August 30, 1999.

The territory integrated into Indonesia in 1976 but the United Nations never recognized the integration process.


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