Subject: Xanana named East Timor prime minister

Also AFP/ABC: Violence follows decision to make Gusmao PM; AFP: Gusmao to be new E Timor PM

Xanana Gusmao named East Timor prime minister

The Associated Press

DILI, East Timor: Independence hero Xanana Gusmao was named East Timor's new prime minister on Monday, triggering fresh violence in the capital a year after bloody street battles led to the collapse of the government.

Despite hopes that the appointment would end months of political tension, the country's largest party immediately slammed the decision as illegal. Youths in Dili set up barricades of burning tires and set a tax office on fire, witnesses said.

President Jose Ramos-Horta handed the top government job to Gusmao, a close political ally and the former head of state, after parliamentary elections in June ended inconclusively.

"Gusmao will be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday," he said.

East Timor broke free from decades of often-brutal Indonesian rule in 1999 in a U.N. sponsored referendum. Three years later it became Asia's newest nation, but the euphoria was quickly replaced by the bitter reality of governing a divided and poverty stricken nation.

Last year, a military mutiny sparked clashes between rival security forces that quickly morphed into gang violence, arson and looting. More than 35 people were killed and some 150,000 others fled their homes before foreign peacekeepers arrived to restore order.

The country held presidential elections in May that were won by Ramos-Horta.

Fretilin won 21 seats in the 65-member parliament in the June polls, well short of a majority. Gusmao's party won 18, but with its coalition partners controls 37 seats and argued it should have the right to rule.

After appealing for the two blocks to form a national unity government, Ramos-Horta used his constitutional right to appoint the prime minister on Monday, angering Fretilin leaders who had insisted they should form a government.

"We regard it as a political and illegal decision and as such Fretilin will not work with this government," said party head and former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.

Gusmao is revered by many in East Timor for leading the armed resistance to Indonesian rule, but like Alkatiri his reputation has been tarnished by last year's violence. Both men have been accused of fueling divisions to further their political ambitions.

East Timor, also a former Portuguese colony, faces major security, humanitarian and economic challenges. Unemployment in the nation of one million people hovers at around 50 percent, and aid agencies have warned that a fifth of the population is threatened by food shortages after crop failures. Gang violence regularly breaks out in the capital. ---

Violence follows decision to make Gusmao PM

Outbreaks of violence are being reported in East Timor after President Jose Ramos-Horta announced independence figure Xanana Gusmao will be prime minister and form a government.

The country has been in political limbo since parliamentary elections in June left no single party with a clear majority.

The powerful Fretilin party won 21 of the parliament's 65 seats, but the CNRT alliance has 37 seats altogether.

Mario Carascalao is the president of the Social Democratic Party, which will be part of the coalition government of Mr Gusmao.

He says Fretilin supporters have been burning houses in the town of Bacau, and there are reports of violence in the capital Dili.

"I hear that in some places there are some people throwing rocks already, but what is most alarming is that in Bacau they are burning houses," he said.

An AFP correspondent says security forces have fired tear gas to disperse rock-throwing gangs.

The acrid gas remains in the air along one of Dili's main streets, which was littered with rocks, debris and burning tyres, but the crowd fled with the arrival of about 30 Portuguese National Guard.

Similar incidents have happened in several other areas of the city but there have been no reports of casualties so far.

Dr Ramos Horta asked Mr Gusmao's coalition, which holds 37 seats in the 65-seat parliament, to form a government after inconclusive June elections, angering Fretilin, the former ruling party.

The Portuguese National Guard is part of an international peacekeeping contingent still deployed in East Timor to maintain security in the wake of street unrest in April and May 2007 that left at least 37 people dead.

The bloodshed occurred as rival military and police factions waged battles against each other and opportunistic youth gangs joined in the mayhem.



Gusmao to be new E Timor PM

From correspondents in Dili

August 06, 2007 07:05pm

Article from: Agence France-Presse

EAST Timor independence hero Xanana Gusmao is to be appointed prime minister this week and will form a Government following inconclusive polls in June, President Jose Ramos Horta said today.

"I have taken the decision to invite the Alliance of the Parliamentary Majority to form the Government," Mr Ramos Horta said, referring to a coalition of parties headed by Mr Gusmao.

"The AMP has proposed that leader Xanana Gusmao become the prime minister. I have accepted it," he said, adding that the former president would be appointed to his new post on Wednesday.

The decision provoked anger from former prime minister Mari Alkatiri, who said at his residence earlier that he had already been informed of mr Ramos Horta's decision.

"This is completely illegal and against our constitution. That is why, the Government, in this matter, will never have the co-operation of Fretilin because this is an illegal government," he said.

Fretilin, the former ruling party, won just 21 seats in the young nation's 65-seat Parliament, well short of the absolute majority required to govern.

But it has said that as it won the most votes, it should have been asked to lead and would have invited other parties to form a unity government.

Fretilin also maintains that the alliance headed by Mr Gusmao should be declared invalid as it was formed after the polls and not beforehand.

Mr Gusmao's party, the National Congress for the Reconstruction of East Timor, won 18 seats in the June 30 polls but later formed a coalition which together holds 37 positions.

Mr Ramos Horta, a Nobel peace laureate, has the authority to decide the composition of the Government as the constitution is unclear on how to proceed under such an outcome.

He had earlier publicly pushed for a unity government.

June's parliamentary elections, the first since East Timor won independence in 2002, were supposed to open a new chapter in the nation's young democracy after more than a year of tensions and uncertainty.

In April and May last year, unrest rocked the streets of the seaside capital Dili, when factional fighting among security forces left at least 37 people dead. The violence forced international peacekeepers led by Australian troops to be dispatched to restore calm.Thursday, 09 August 2007



National Media Reports

Priorities for new government: IDPs, Petitioners and Alfredo

The Fourth constitutional government of Timor-Leste was sworn in by President José Ramos-Horta on Wednesday (8/8) in Nobre Palace, Dili.

The government led by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão and his Deputy José Luis Guterres, consists of 12 ministers, 3 vice ministers and 25 secretaries of state; some did not attend the ceremony.

In his speech, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão stated that the government will focus on the problems of the IDPs, petitioners and Reinado's case. These will be the priorities in the coming months.

'In the short term, the government will consolidate security in Dili and across the country, guaranteeing the return home of those who are still living in a situation of serious humanitarian crisis in IDPs camps, deploying the necessary means to re-establish their lives,' stated Mr. Gusmão.

The government also made a commitment to 'solve the problems of the petitioners, analyzing the recommendations of the report of the Commission of Notables, promoting dialogue with F-FDTL and applying measures of social justice, and to solve the problem of Alfredo Reinado and his men, guaranteeing that this will be an example of how justice in our country may be slow, but does prevail,' stated Mr. Xanana. (TP and DN)

Mariano and Idelta refuse to take part in the new government

According to the arrangement of the new government, Mr. Mariano Assanami Sabino Lopes is the Minister of Agriculture and Ms. Idelta Rodriguez is the Secretary of the State for the Promotion of Equality.

In response to the nominations made, Mr. Sabino and Ms. Rodriguez reportedly refused to take part in the new government.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday (8/8), the Secretary-General of the Democratic Party (PD), Mariano Sabino did not give any reason for his decision.

On the other hand, Ms. Rodriguez on Wednesday (8/8) clarified that she decided to continue as a member of the parliament rather than take up the position of Secretary of State for the Promotion of Equality. (TP)

Former Interior Minister's flight cancelled

The Government of the Alliance through the Ministry of Justice cancelled the medical flight to Malaysia that was arranged for the former Interior Minister Rogerio Tiago Lobato on Wednesday (8/8).

Speaking to journalists, the Minister of Justice, Lucia Lobato informed that she issued the order for security to bring Mr. Lobato back to the Becora prison.

She said that there are no restrictions placed on prisoners that must get medical treatment overseas, however it is important that the prisoners follow the judicial system. (TP)

F-FDTL deployed in Venilale and Viqueque

The Commander of F-FDTL, Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak received an order from President José Ramos-Horta to deploy F-FDTL forces to Baucau district to control the situation.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday (8/8) in Dili, Mr. Ruak said that the Baucau and Viqueque cases are very complicated.

'Mr Horta has ordered F-FDTL deployment in Baucau; the forces will be based in Venilale and Viqueque,' informed Mr. Ruak. (TP)

Alkatiri continues to protest Alliance-formed government

The Secretary-General of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri reportedly said that Fretilin will continue protesting the Alliance-formed government led by Xanana Gusmão.

He said however that the protest will be non-violent and handled through the proper legal channels.

He revealed that Fretilin does not support violence and that is why they called for calm across the country. (TP)

New government sworn in: Democratic Alliance and Fretilin were absent

The Fretilin party that led the first - third constitutional governments did not attend the swearing in ceremony of fourth constitutional Government of Timor-Leste on Wednesday (8/8) in Dili.

Fretilin considers the fourth constitutional government led by CNRT President Xanana Gusmão as unconstitutional. The Democratic Alliance (AD - KOTA/PPT) also did not attend the ceremony.

Speaking to journalists after the ceremony, the Vice President of the National Parliament, Vicente Guterres said that Fretilin should have attended even if they did not recognize the Alliance-formed government. (DN)

Court of Appeals has not received any petitions

The President of the Court of Appeals, Claudio Ximenes informed that so far the court has not received any petitions from Fretilin regarding the formation of the new government. (DN)

United Nations condemns violence in Dili

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste Atul Khare has condemned the sporadic violence in Dili following the announcement of the new Government yesterday afternoon.

Mr Khare, who characterized the violence as sporadic and isolated, stated strongly that any political party supporters engaging in acts of violence will be treated as criminals and swiftly dealt with.

In a meeting this morning with the Secretary-General of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri, and in line with all meetings with political leaders throughout the entire electoral process, Mr Khare requested Mr Alkatiri's support in keeping the situation calm.

'Mr Alkatiri told me he had received delegations of people over the past day and had reminded those people that burning buildings and throwing rocks is unacceptable,' Mr Khare said.

United Nations police officers (UNPol) along with the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) and the International Security Forces have been working to contain the violence that is mostly comprised of rock throwing, road blocks and some arson.

UNPol, PNTL, the ISF and the Falintil Force for the Defence of Timor-Leste (F-FDTL) are collectively providing static security at various key locations around Dili. (DN)

NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES: Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional (DN) Semanario Televisaun Timor-Leste (TVTL)Friday, 10 August 2007




National Media Reports

UN condemns violence in Baucau and Viqueque

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, has strongly condemned the violence in Baucau and Viqueque over the past 24-hours.

At least seven buildings in Baucau, including three government facilities, three non-government organization offices and one court, as well as seven private houses in Viqueque, have been set on fire. Other violence has included widespread stoning of vehicles and buildings.

United Nations police officers (UNPol) in conjunction with the national police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) and the International Security Forces (ISF) have been fully deployed to contain and put a stop to the violence. Approximately 224 tear gas shells have been used along with rubber bullets to disperse the groups involved. Two UNPol officers have been injured, one seriously. An additional formed police platoon is being sent to Baucau today as reinforcement.

Since yesterday, 45 people have been arrested for their participation in the violence in Baucau.

'I strongly condemn this violence that is regrettably being committed by people who claim an allegiance to Fretilin' Mr. Khare said.

Recalling that the Secretary-General of Fretilin, Dr. Mari Alkatiri had earlier strongly condemned all acts of violence and had assured the Special Representative that Fretilin would take all possible steps to calm the situation, Mr. Khare stressed that 'it is essential that the message of non-violence be communicated strongly and repeatedly until it is respected by all.'

The UN Special Representative Mr. Khare will travel to Baucau and Viqueque on Saturday with President José Ramos-Horta to assure the population that the State is acting to quickly re-establish peace.

Elsewhere in Timor-Leste, the situation remains volatile but under control, with isolated and sporadic incidents of violence being reported. (STL)

F-FDTL deployed in Baucau and Viqueque

The Timorese government has deployed F-FDTL to Baucau and Viqueque districts to respond to the violence caused by Fretilin supporters.

The Prime Minister, José Alexander Xanana Gusmão reportedly held a meeting on Wednesday (8/8) with F-FDTL, PNTL and UNMIT to discuss coordination in order to address the tense situation in Baucau and Viqueque.

'F-FDTL has had presence in Baucau and Viqueque,' informed Mr. Gusmão after meeting with the President of Republic on Thursday (9/8) in Dili. (STL)

Claudio Ximenes: Rogerio has the right to medical treatment

The President of the Court of Appeals, Claudio Ximenes said that all Timorese citizens, including the former Interior Minister, Rogerio Tiago Lobato as a prisoner, have the right to receive medical treatment overseas if needed.

Speaking to journalists after the new government was sworn in on Wednesday (8/8) in Dili, Mr. Ximenes said that medical treatment overseas is a fundamental right and nobody has the right to refuse that. (DN)

Interference in Rogerio Lobato's case violates constitution

At a press conference held on Thursday (9/8) in the parliament, the Chief member of the national parliament from the Fretilin party, Aniceto da Silva Guterres said that the Minister of Justice's interference in Lobato's case goes against the Timorese constitution.

'The decision of the Alliance ' through the Ministry of Justice ' to stop Mr. Lobato's medical flight to Malaysia goes against the decision made by the other organs' said Mr. Aniceto.

He said that Lobato's case was authorized by the former Minister of Justice and judges and was stopped by the new government. This violates the democratic principles of this country and is considered an attack towards a Fretilin member. (STL and DN)

Domingos: Fretilin will always consider the decision as unconstitutional

The former Minister of Justice, Mr. Domingos Sarmento said that the decision made by President José Ramos-Horta to give the Alliance power to form the new government is unjust and unconstitutional as it is not based on the will of the majority of the people. (DN)

Lobato allowed to travel overseas

After long negotiations with the government, Rogerio Tiago Lobato ' accompanied by his family (two children, wife and two cousins) - on Thursday (9/8) was allowed to travel to Malaysia to undergo medical treatment. (STL)

UNMIT meets with political leaders

The United Nation Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) led by SRSG Atul Khare reportedly held a meeting today (10/8) with all the political parties.

'Tomorrow, I invite all political parties to have a meeting with me as I have done in the past,' said Mr. Khare on Thursday (9/8) at the UNMIT weekly press conference in Dili.

Mr. Khare said that in the meeting he will remind all political party leaders about the Political Party Accord which they all signed prior to the elections on 30 June.

'The Political Party Accord was followed throughout the electoral process and I would like to remind the leaders and their supporters of this agreement,' said Mr. Khare. (STL)

President of Conoco Philips meets President of Timor-Leste

The President of the Conoco Philips Company, James Mulva met with President José Ramos-Horta yesterday (9/8) in Dili to discuss the development of the Timor gas and oil pipeline in the 'Greater Sun Rise (GSR)'.

Speaking to journalists, Mr. Mulva said that he was invited by the President to discuss these matters. The Timorese government will cooperate with Conoco Philips on this project until 2008. (STL)

Xanana: the government did not impede Lobato

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão on Thursday (9/8), after the weekly meeting with President José Ramos-Horta in Dili, said that the actions of government to stop Lobato's medical flight to Malaysia were not meant to impede the process but rather to ensure that all proper procedures were met.

Mr. Gusmão explained that the new government had just been sworn in and needed to get all the information regarding Lobato's treatment. (TP)

Jose Luis: disregarding the ICI recommendations is undemocratic

The Director of the HAK Association, José Luis Oliveira said that the court's decision to disregard the list of people recommended by the International Commission on Inquiry following last year's crisis (including Mr. Paulo Martins, Mr. Leandro Isaac, Mr. Mari Alkatiri and others) goes against the Timorese constitution and democratic principles of the country.

According to Mr. Oliveira, the court's decision is meant to protect the political elite. (TP)

PM Xanana: If Rogerio flees, it is the responsibility of the former government

Speaking to journalists after meeting with President José Ramos-Horta on Thursday (9/8) in Dili, Prime Minister Xanana said that if Rogerio Lobato flees, it will be the responsibility of the former government. Lobato traveled to Malaysia for medical treatment.

'We have seen all the documents from the former Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs. We want to make sure that after the treatment, Lobato returns to Becora prison,' said the Prime Minister. (DN)

Atul Khare: 'UNPol, PNTL and ISF will not tolerate any violence'

At a press conference held on Thursday (9/8) in Obrigado Barracks in Dili, SRSG Mr. Atul Khare said that UNPol, PNTL and ISF will not tolerate violent acts in the country.

He said that instead of showing their commitment to the development of their country, the Timorese people are destroying their own houses and properties and not giving their new nation a chance to develop.

'I totally condemn the current actions done by Fretilin supporters in Viqueque, Baucau and Dili. I am disappointed to see that the Timorese are fighting each other. I am ashamed of their actions,' said Mr. Khare. (DN)

NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES: Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional (DN) Semanario Televisaun Timor-Leste (TVTL)

Back to August menu
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu