Subject: LUSA: FM Ramos Horta makes no comment on PM's 'indiscipline' charge

04-04-2003 18:37:00. Notícia nº SIR-4881986...

East Timor: FM Ramos Horta makes no comment on PM's 'indiscipline' charge

Oporto, Portugal, April 4 (Lusa) - East Timor's foreign minister, José Ramos Horta, made no comment Friday on suggestions by Dili's prime minister that he had committed "institutional indiscipine" by criticizing the Timorese government's policy on granting residence visas.

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said Friday that comments made this week by Ramos Horta on the "folly" of Dili's system of awarding visas to foreigners in Timor showed the foreign ministers "ignorance" of government policy.

Speaking in Portugal's second city, Oporto, Ramos Horta said he was not totally convinced that Alkatiri had made these charges, but added that he would not comment on the "alleged" criticisms and would not withdraw his remarks.

Ramos Horta, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, said he recognized "the sovereignty of the democratically elected Timorese prime minister", but admitted that he disagreed with Alkatiri on other unspecified matters.

"The prime minister ... has the duty to fulfill the promises he made to the people who elected him", said Dili's top diplomat.

"The Timorese government has functioned for nine months and has many faults and weaknesses of governance at several levels".

"It is possible to admit mistakes and even controversy without embarrassments", said Ramos Horta, who was on the final day of an official visit to Portugal.

LP/CJB -Lusa-

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