Subject: Pos Kupang: Bishops appeal to refugees in W Timor to return

East Timor: Bishops appeal to refugees in West Timor to return

BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Mar 28, 2001

Source: Pos Kupang, Kupang, in Indonesian 22 Mar 01 p 4

Kupang: Dili Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and Baucau Bishop Basilio Nascimento in an open letter issued in the lead up to the Easter celebration have called on East Timorese refugees in West Timor to return and participate in reconciliation and together develop Timor Lorosae.

"We are ready to distribute the letter to the refugees. The letter contains the Bishops' call on them to go home and contribute to the development of East Timor as well as their wish to materialize reconciliation in East Timor coinciding with the upcoming Easter celebration," UNTAET [United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor] Chief of Staff N Parameswaran said during his meeting with Deputy Governor of NTT [East Nusa Tenggara] Johanes Pake Pani in his office on Wednesday (21 March).

Parameswaran said that the letter was initially to be distributed to the refugee camps during the registration campaign on Tuesday, but it was put off until further decisions could be taken. "The distribution of the letter that was signed by the two bishops and the visit to the refugee camps have to be postponed because the IX Udayana Military Area Command Commander (?Maj-Gen Willem da Costa) who was to come too must attend a meeting in Jakarta. So it is not cancelled but delayed. We hope we can do it early April," he said.

He added that UNTAET already had a copy of the letter. The postponement did not have any relation to reports of CNRT President Xanana Gusmao's allegation of an attempt by the Indonesian military [Tentara Nasional Indonesia - Indonesian National Military Forces] to kill the UN delegates during the visit.

"That's not true that there was a statement about TNI or the elite forces (Kopassus) involvement including to eliminate Xanana. We have explained about the matter to the Indonesian Armed Forces Commander. Xanana is an ordinary person. UNTAET is the only legitimate government in East Timor; therefore it is only UNTAET that should be heard. It is okay if it is Sergio de Mello's statement but not Xanana. He is an ordinary person," Parameswaran said...

see also UNTAS calls on Bishop Belo to retract statement 

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