|East Timor||BELO LEAVES ROME FILLED WITH HOPE|
John Paul II's embrace has given new hope to East Timor, the Bishop of Dili said at Fiumicino airport, as he prepared to leave Rome.
"During these days of my stay in Italy, I have not ceased to think of East Timor, and have tried to maintain contacts to follow the evolution of the situation," he said. "The news of persons who were believed dead and who, instead, are alive, and the risk to the life of defenseless people has filled my heart with sadness and hope."
"Hope increased with the Holy Father's paternal embrace; with the willingness expressed by Italian political authorities who have welcomed me with kindness and who have kept their commitment; with the solidarity of the Italian people; with the attention given by the press to my small homeland."
He acknowledged that "following the decision of world authorities to intervene decisively to reestablish dignity and justice to the inhabitants of East Timor, I am now confident in the future. We must reconstruct it all, but I am convinced that the solidarity of peoples, of humanitarian associations, of each generous person, will enable us to achieve it."
"My desire now is to be able to return as soon as possible to East Timor to help the people to find confidence and hope once again; to help make decisions in favor of reconciliation and peace, and to carry out together what has been democratically decided by the referendum," Bishop Belo said before boarding his plane.
"I thank God who has inspired and protected me in this trip away from my homeland to tell about the sufferings of my people," he concluded.
Zenit 11:38am 20/9/99