|Subject: LUSA: Formation of New Transition
14 Sep 01 20:05 East Timor: Formation of New Transition Cabinet Delayed
The inauguration of East Timor's new government, originally scheduled for Saturday, has been postponed until Tuesday or Wednesday, as various posts remain unfilled.
The head of the half-island's current executive, chief UN transition administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello, said Friday that the delay was due to the East Timorese leadership's diplomatic mission to Jakarta earlier this week.
"The trip disrupted my consultations. There are still various posts to be filled and I don't want to rush the process", said the Brazilian UN diplomat, adding that Fretilin leader Mari Alkatari - also part of the Jakarta delegation - had asked for more time to continue his own discussions.
"It is not a case of names to come off the list but names to be added to it", said Vieira de Mello, who emphasized there were many options for the government.
Despite these explanations, there have been patent differences between the UN administration and Fretilin, the largest party in the Constituent Assembly, over composition of the new transition cabinet, which will comprise ten ministers served by seven or eight deputy ministers and state secretaries.
Former resistance leader Xanana Gusmao is expected to serve as an autonomous state secretary, heading an office of strategic planning directly answerable to the transition administrator.
Those assured of portfolios are: Jose Ramos Horta in foreign relations; Filomeno Jacob in education and social affairs and Mari Alkatiri for the post of chief minister.
The swearing-in of the new government was to have coincided with a similar Saturday ceremony in which the 88 members of the new Constituent Assembly will take office. That event will go ahead as planned.
The main task of the Assembly is to draft the national constitution ahead of full independence, likely in the first half of next year.
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