|Subject: JP: Timor Leste and militias
December 28, 2006
Timor Leste and militias reconcile
KUPANG, East Nusa Tenggara: Former pro-Indonesia militia commanders in West Timor have denied involvement in the recent riots in Timor Leste.
Former commander of the Integration Fighters militia Alfonso Hendrike Pinto and former commander of the Sector A Pro-integration militia Joanico Cesario Bello conveyed the message to Timor Leste Foreign Minister Jose Luiz Gutteres during his visit to the Timor Leste Consulate in Kupang on Wednesday.
Gutteres had offered to repatriate 104,000 people who are still holding refugee status so they could participate in the nation-building process.
"The door to Timor Leste is always open. Please return home. You'll be treated fairly there," Gutteres said.
Bello said Timor Leste's law did not specify the criteria to be used in resolving the citizenship status of pro-integration refugees who had opted to live in Indonesia.
"We, who they believe were involved in serious crimes in the UN-sponsored referendum in 1999, are still registered as Timor Leste citizens taking refuge in Indonesia. They always blame us whenever a disturbance occurs in Dili," Joanico said.
Gutteres said he would discuss the issue with President Xanana Gusmao and the Timor Leste parliament. -- JP