Subject: Xanana visits Protestant and Catholic neighborhoods of Belfast

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Newsletter October 17, 2003


A LOYALIST estate in west Belfast has received its first and probably last presidential visit, it was claimed last night.

President Xanana Gusmao of East Timor called to the Highfield estate after meeting Sinn Fein leaders in nationalist areas as part of a fact- finding visit.

The president was on a whistle-stop tour of loyalist and nationalist districts to see how both communities were trying to improve the quality of life in their districts.

He got equally warm welcomes from crowds of residents as he visited memorials to those who died during the troubles from both sides of the sectarian divide.

Frank McCoubrey, an independent councillor, said the residents of Highfield were delighted to see Mr Gusmao.

"I'm pleased that we've had a leader from another country come over and recognise Protestantism for once and recognise the hurt that has been inflicted on this community for near 30 years at the hands of republicans,'' he said.

"He came into this community and he looked at a memorial that has been put together by this community in memory of the many people who have been killed over the 30 years.

"The people in Highfield never get a presidential visit.

"It will probably be their first and last and they're glad to see someone is recognising Protestant history and culture within this community.''

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