leaders call for role in interim UN body in E Timor
Resistance leaders call for role in interim UN body in East Timor
DARWIN, Australia, Oct 17 (AFP) - Pro-independence East Timorese leaders will ask for a role when the formal United Nations peacekeeping force takes over in the territory, but have ruled out forming a provisional government.
Timorese resistance (CNRT) spokesman Abel Gutteres told AFP Sunday talks here were concentrating on exactly what role they could play in an interim administrative framework in the devastated territory.
"Talks are progressing well considering the situation," he said. "We want to see how we can interact to the interim UN administration which is expected to take over later this year."
The UN hopes to take over soon from the International Force in East Timor but under an agreement between Indonesia and Portugal has to wait for the new Indonesian assembly to approve the August 30 referendum for independence. Indonesia annexed the former Portuguese colony in 1976.
CNRT officials believe the UN may administer the territory for up to three years.
"The first priority is how to react to the emergency on the ground and what role East Timorese leaders can play in distributing aid," Gutteres said.
"We are not meeting to try to set up a provisional government."
CNRT officials were concerned about how the territory should be rebuilt with the aid of the World Bank. But they were worried about getting into a debtor's trap.
"If we are smart we won't be forced to be slaves to interest rates," he said.
"We have to maximise the goodwill now out there in terms of aid donors," he added.
Plans for Xanana Gusmao to return to East Timor later this week may be shelved.
Gutteres said there were still concerns about security and they were aware that the simplest practical things, like getting on the phone to world leaders, might best be done from Darwin.
"We have no date yet for his return," he said.
Gusmao, tipped to be the first president of an independent East Timor, had told Australian Premier John Howard earlier this week he planned to return next week.
He said he was eager to set foot in East Timor despite concern his life could be in danger.
Gusmao Calls for 'New Mentality,' Leadership Structures for Independence Transition
Darwin, Australia, Oct. 18 (Lusa) - Independence leader Xanana Gusmao challenged the East Timorese people Monday to assume a "new mentality," replacing their struggle against Indonesia with combat against poverty and destruction. As a step in this direction, Gusmao said the leadership of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), meeting in Darwin since Saturday, had approved changes in its structure to ready it for action during the transition to independence.
Among the changes were the creation of a Transition Council "to maintain close links" with the planned UN transitional administration, and two new commissions on researching and planning and gender equality, Gusamo said. The choice of "the six or seven members" of the pivotal Transition Council was yet to be made, he added, but they would be drawn from the CNRT's senior National Political Commission.
"After the long period of liberation struggle, it is necessary to create a new mentality, one more professional and less activist, turned toward reconstruction," Gusmao said. "We must change the old mentality of struggle against Indonesia to a new mentality of struggle against poverty and destruction."
Gusmao also said the ongoing CNRT leadership meeting was seeking to overcome old rivalries between activists from "the interior" and "the exterior" of East Timor. He reiterated his calls for forgiveness and reconciliation with countrymen who had backed integration into Indonesia with the exception of those who had "spilled blood." -Lusa-
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