THURSDAY
March 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 44
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

INDONESIA PRESIDENT APOLOGIZES TO EAST TIMOR

    DILI, East Timor (CWNews.com) - The president of Indonesia on Tuesday apologized for more than two decades of human rights abuses during his country's occupation of East Timor.

    President Abdurraham Wahid was in East Timor to promote reconciliation now that the former Portuguese colony has broken from Indonesia. Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, invaded mainly Catholic East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move not recognized by the United Nations. Last August, the region held a Jakarta-proposed referendum to allow Timorese to choose either autonomy within Indonesia or full independence. After the pro-independence results were revealed, pro-Indonesia militias, armed and backed by Indonesia's military, went on a rampage, killing hundreds and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee.

    Wahid laid a wreath at cemetery in the town of Santa Cruz during his visit to recognize about 200 people killed by Indonesian soldiers in 1991. He then visited a burial plot for Indonesian soldiers nearby.

    "I would like to apologize for the sins that have happened in the past, to the victims or the families of Santa Cruz and those friends who are buried in the military cemetery," he said. "These are the victims of circumstances that we didn't want."

    The visit came as prosecutors prepared to indict soldiers and militias members blamed for the massacres. Wahid, who became president in October after a UN-sanctioned multinational force replaced Indonesian soldiers and restored order in East Timor, has maintained close ties with East Timorese leaders over the years.

          

March 2, 2000
volume 11, no. 44
NEWS & VIEWS

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