Subject: Militia boss Guterres has no invitation, arrest awaits a return home

East Timor: Militia boss Guterres has no invitation, arrest awaits a return home

Dili, Jan. 6 (Lusa) - A presidential aide denied Friday that Xanana Gusmão has invited a notorious former pro-Indonesian militia leader to visit East Timor, and Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta said Eurico Guterres, who led the Aitarak gangs in 1999, would be arrested if he returned home.

The comments to Lusa in Dili from the presidency and Ramos Horta aimed to put an end to international media speculation that Gusmão had invited and guaranteed security for Guterres during a recent visit to neighboring Indonesian West Timor.

After attending a meeting between Timorese expatriates, including several former militia leaders, and Gusmão in Kupang last month, Guterres was reported as saying he would accept a presidential invitation to visit East Timor.

Guterres said he planned to return to East Timor in early January, accompanied by 26 other former militia leaders.

Gusmão's spokesman, Ágio Pereira, told Lusa Friday that the president's appeals for reconciliation in Kupang had been misunderstood and that he had issued no "personalized invitation" for visits to East Timor.

"The president had a meeting with the Timorese community resident in Kupang, where Eurico Guterres was present, and appealed for all to make themselves aware of the difficulties of building the State in East Timor".

"We consider that there was an error of interpretation of the president's words", he added, referring to media speculation that the Aitarak leader had been invited home.

Ramos Horta, the foreign minister, was blunter, commenting to Lusa that "Guterres will be arrested if he enters the country".

Aitarak was one of the most brutal pro-Jakarta proxy militias, which are held mostly responsible for the killing of some 1,400 Timorese, the destruction of most of the country's infrastructure, and the deportation through panic or force of some 280,000 people around the time of the Indonesian-occupied territory's 1999 independence plebiscite.

EL/SAS.

Lusa

 


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