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TIMOR TODAY 13/12/99

TIMOR TODAY 13/12/99

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1. Armed militia stop U.N. access to West Timor camps 13/12/99 KUPANG, Indonesia, (Reuters) - Pro-Jakarta militiamen armed with pistols and clubs threatened U.N. aid officials in Indonesian West Timor on Friday, preventing them from entering camps for East Timorese refugees."This is the fifth time we have been unsuccessful in extracting refugees from the camps here," said Aida QaraÆeen of the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR in the West Timor capital of Kupang.

2. Gusmao talks peace with militia leaders 13/12/99 Sydney Morning Herald The East Timorese independence leader Mr Xanana Gusmao met for the first time yesterday with pro-Jakarta militia leaders responsible for the widespread devastation of this shattered half-island territory. The reconciliation talks began yesterday morning at Motaain, a western border hamlet on East TimorÆs north coast, and were attended by senior independence and pro-integration officials, Indonesian military and police, and officers from the International Force in East Timor (Interfet).

3. Gusmao meets militia leaders to discuss refugees 13/12/99 DILI, AAP - East TimorÆs independence leader Xanana Gusmao today met pro-Indonesian militia leaders, including the notorious Joao Tavarres who earlier this year threatened to kill Australian troops. The meeting, at the West-East Timor border post of Mota, was the first between East Timorese representatives and the militia leaders who planned and carried out the destruction of East Timor. Xanana Gusmao said the main topic today was the return of an estimated 170,000 East Timorese refugees who remain in militia-controlled camps in West Timor.

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4. Refugees still face harassment 13/12/99 Sydney Morning Herald The Australian commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force in East Timor has appealed for the international community to continue to pressure Indonesia to allow the remaining 100,000 displaced people in West Timor to return home. At the same time, Interfet Commander Major-General Peter Cosgrove revealed he has written to his Indonesian counterpart across the border, detailing specific instances of pro-Indonesian militias harassing refugees preparing to return.

5. Indon claim no militia in camps but refugees canÆt leave 13/12/99 ATAMBUA, Indonesia, (AAP) IndonesiaÆs new military commander in the West Timor border area, Lieutenant Colonel Djoko Subiandro, insisted today that the notorious militia gangs had abandoned the refugee camps. "There is no militia here any more, they have disbanded. We have no reports of militia activity" he said, referring to the refugee camps near the border with East Timor that he estimated still held 169,000 East Timorese.

6. Indonesian Generals Blast East Timor Human Rights Probe 13/12/99 JAKARTA (AP)--IndonesiaÆs top generals have denounced state investigators who accuse them of being responsible for the murder and destruction the gripped East Timor two months ago, media reports said Saturday. Former military chief Gen. Wiranto described as "groundless" allegations that military leaders were responsible for the violence, The Jakarta Post reported.

7. Military men deplore comments made by rights commission 13/12/99 JAKARTA (JP): Top military officers and their legal consultants on Friday slammed a government- sanctioned inquiry for making biased remarks on the militaryÆs involvement in violence in East Timor. During a preparatory meeting between military officers who are due to be questioned by the Commission for the Investigation of Human Rights Abuses in East Timor, they questioned what they called one-sided statements concerning the militaryÆs role in East Timor.

8. East Timorese family mourn aid worker believed killed by militias 13/12/99 DILI, (AFP) - Wailing family members gathered on Sunday to mourn a worker for the Care international relief agency who they said was murdered by pro-Indonesian militias. Family members found the body of Jose dos Reis, 23, on Friday. He had been buried in a crude grave behind the house of a militia commander in the town of Hera, just outside Dili, said Joaquim Alin, a relative.

9. Whitlam bid to exorcise Timor 13/12/99 The Age CANBERRA - Laden with documentation and a formidable memory, the former Prime Minister, Mr Gough Whitlam, came to Canberra last week to exorcise the East Timorese demon that haunts his reputation. Mr Whitlam sought an appearance before the SenateÆs foreign affairs committee to give his version of events leading up to IndonesiaÆs invasion of the former Portuguese territory in 1975.

** PLUS new editorial and reports


a) Jose Alexandre "Xanana" Gusmao, East Timorese independence leader, right, and Joao Tavares, pro-Indonesian militia leader, left, speak to the press on Sunday, Dec. 12, 1999 in Montaain, East and West Timorese border, about 150 kilometers (94 miles) from Dili, East Timor, after their meeting on repatritation of East Timorese refugees from West Timor. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

b) Xanana Gusmao, East Timorese independence leader, left, welcomes 18 released East Timorese pro-independence activists upon their arrival Saturday, Dec. 11, 1999 at the airport in Dili, East Timor. After years of incarceration in Indonesian jails, the last East Timorese political prisoners arrived home to tears and a hero's welcome on Saturday. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)


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