Subject: LUSA: Violence fanned to topple Govt, avoid elex, charges PM Alkatiri

East Timor: Violence fanned to topple Govt, avoid elex, charges PM Alkatiri

Dili, June 7 (Lusa) - Embattled Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri charged again Wednesday that political opponents were fueling violence in East Timor to bring down his government and avoid elections next year.

Alkatiri, in a wide-ranging interview with Lusa, reaffirmed he had no intention of resigning and said he would run again in polls set for April 2007.

"Everything that is happening now began (with riots) in December 2002, more or less with the same demands and with the same groups behind it", Alkatiri said. "The objective is really to topple the elected government".

The six-week spiral of lawlessness in Dili, he said, was being carried "with such aggression, with such violence, because they want to avoid elections" next year - polls, he added, his ruling FRETILIN party were set to win.

Alkatiri did not name those he considers responsible for the violence that has left at least 25 dead, more than 120 injured and more than 200 houses and shops destroyed or damaged by arsonists in the capital since late April.

He described his relations with President Xanana Gusmão, who assumed control of security forces last week, as "good", both personally and institutionally.

The prime minister said he was convinced the president would not dissolve parliament and call early elections, as demanded by dissident army officers and others.

Alkatiri told Lusa he would have proposed an early return to the polls himself if the country's laws and institutions so permitted.

"But I can't do this because there is no law, the institutions don't exist", he said.

Answering criticism of alleged government stinginess in public investment, which has contributed to huge unemployment, Alkatiri acknowledged the crisis had frightened off potential investors, a gap, he said, his administration would have to fill.

"We will greatly increase public investment", he said, adding that the Superior Council of Defense and Security, convened by the president last week, had approved a series of emergency reconstruction measures.

The prime minister's office announced Tuesday the government would review its 2006-2007 budget that is scheduled to take effect July 1.

On the international front, Alkatiri pointed his finger at unspecified "conservative" economic and other "sectors" in Australia and Indonesia as being linked to the alleged attempt to bring down his government.

He made it clear, however, that he had no complaints with the administrations in Canberra and Jakarta.

As to Portugal's aid, Alkatiri said it "exceeded our expectations", demonstrating, "once again, a mix of correct policy and great solidarity with the people of East Timor" on Lisbon's part.

SAS/PR/ASP.

Lusa

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