Subject: Lusa - Catholic Bishop calls for end to regional rivalry, revenge attacks

East Timor: Catholic Bishop calls for end to regional rivalry, revenge attacks

Dili, Aug. 18 (Lusa) - The Catholic bishop of Baucau, East Timor's second biggest city, appealed to the country's people Friday to put an end "once and for all" to regional-based violence that "shames" the nation before the world.

"We need to stop and think about what is needed for East Timor, for its people and, above all, for the future of its youth", Bishop Basílio do Nascimento told Lusa.

"The enemies of East Timor today are the Timorese themselves", he added.

His appeal for communal peace might "not please some persons" who have their minds set on revenge, Bishop do Nascimento said, adding, however, that "momentary consolation" through revenge was ephemeral and led to "a loss for all and shamed the country before the international community".

He said that east-west regional rivalry that fueled weeks of fighting and destruction in the capital in April and May was largely limited to Dili.

If it were not for the presence of international peacekeepers in eastern Baucau and contacts with Dili, "no one on the eastern end (of East Timor) would know there were problems in the capital", he said.

Numbering less than 1 million, the East Timorese are overwhelmingly Christian and the Catholic Church exercises considerable influence.

SAS/JCS.

Lusa


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