Subject: ETGOV: East Timor-Prime Minister Speaks

December 5, 2002

The following is a summary of facts released by Timor-Leste Prime Minister Dr Mari Alkatiri at a Press Conference this evening, 1700 hours Dili time.

A full transcript is available upon request.

PRESS CONFERENCE BRIEFING

"The situation in Timor-Leste is fully under control thanks to law and order." Prime Minister, Dr Mari Alkatiri, told a press conference tonight in Dili.

There have been up to 80 arrests since Wednesday. The Government estimates there were between 600-800 people involved in the riots, most of which were under 16 years of age.

In response to reports that he had been assassinated Dr Alkatiri declared, "You see I am alive, resurrected maybe."

In response to inaccurate reporting Dr Alkatiri appealed to the media to please ensure they confirm facts before reporting on this very serious, very sensitive issue. When asked what would happen to those who reported inaccurately Dr Alkatiri said nothing, but those journalist would have created fear and instability in a poor country.

Dr Alkatiri sympathized with media complaints that information has been very difficult to come by, "I understand that is the situation, and that is why I am here right now," he said.

There are two people dead, two people seriously wounded, and three people less seriously but still seriously wounded.

The Government and UNMISET are doing everything possible to bring good doctors from Australia for the autopsies of the bodies. The autopsies are necessary to determine which guns fired the fatal shots.

The Prime Minister and H.E. President Xanana Gusmao are taking the situation seriously and met to plan the details of an Independent Commission into the incidents today. The Commission, headed by the Inspector General, includes the Prosecutor General, a member of the Law Association, and, one to two people to be elected by the Parliament.

The commission will have 72 hours to make inquires and put together a report on the incidents of December 3 and 4.

Those found to have been involved in criminal acts would be treated as criminals and brought to the court, he said.

Parliament will have a separate inquiry into the attack on Parliament House. "It is important and legitimate for Parliament to have their own report." Dr Alkatiri said. The two reports will be used in cooperation.

"The Government would like to assure you that the investigation will be done in a very short time and those guilty will be presented to the court." Dr Alkatiri said.

For further information please contact:

Caroline O'Brien Public Affairs Advisor Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Phone: +61 (0) 417 879 953 Email: mediamfac@hotmail.com


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