Subject: Timor Post: Fretilin, UDT reject CNRT Permanent Commission

Fretilin, UDT reject CNRT Permanent Commission

Timor Post

Dili (22 Sept, 2000) (translated from Bahasa)

The Permanent Commission of the CNRT/CN might be crippled at the onset of its formation on 21 Sept in Dili with its rejection by two of the largest political parties in East Timor. Both Fretilin and UDT have refused to be part of the commission by declining to sign a document on the body's formation.

The veteran politicians and political parties who signed the document are Apodeti-Pro-Referendum's Frederico dos Santos Almeida, Partido Democratico Cristao's Vicente Guterres, PSD's Mario Viegas Carrascalao, Kota, PST and Trabalhista.

It is hoped that the Permanent Commission will unite all political parties in East Timor in accordance with the aspirations of CNRT's National Congress that was held between 21-30 August.

CNRT/CN President Jose Alexandre Xanana Gusmao said the the formation of the Permanent Commission was agreed upon at CNRT National Congress.

"It was a decision of the majority at the Congress," said Xanana.

The East Timor Presidential candidate said the leaders of Fretilin and UDT had been invited three times to debate on the formation of the Permanent Commission, but they declined to be present.

"We are not in a position to do anything. The Jurisdictional Council will look at the legalities and they will look at ways to make the commission functional without the presence of the two parties," added Xanana.

The President of Partido Democratico Cristao Vicente Guterres said Fretilin and UDT had to realise their responsibilities to the newly independent East Timor.

"Because of differences in opinion between Fretilin, UDT and Apodeti, the tragic events of 1975 occurred," said Guterres.

"The differences of 1975 must be put behind. If there are still differences, it's the people who would suffer."

But Fretilin's Secretary-General Mari Alkatari said his party is contemplating on leaving CNRT because of differences in opinion with the umbrella organisation.

He referred to the incident where Xanana and CNRT Vice-President Jose Ramos-Horta resigned from their positions at the National Congress and hours later returned back to their posts. He said those tactics were meant to intimidate Fretilin.

Alkatari also accused Xanana of paying too much attention to the newly formed Social Democratic Party (PSD) instead of listening to the parties that founded CNRT.

(Note: The PSD was inaugurated early this week with Mario Carrascalao, Jose Ramos-Horta, Zacharias da Costa and Leonardo Issacs as founding members).

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