Subject: AFP: Timor president swears in state council

Timor president swears in state council

From correspondents in Dili

October 15, 2007 06:37pm

Agence France-Presse

EAST Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta has sworn in the country's State Council, saying the advisory body faced the challenge of restoring stability to the young nation.

Speaking in Portuguese, one of the country's two official languages, Ramos-Horta said there were "many priorities which will soon have to be on the agenda of the state advisors.''

"We need to restore stability and guarantee security and peace,'' he told the council, which provides advice to the President when asked, and has the constitutional authority to announce the dissolution of the parliament or government and declare war.

Its 12 members include Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, House Speaker Fernando de Araujo, former health minister Rui Araujo, and former house speaker Fransisco Xavier do Amaral. Five members of the council are directly chosen by the President.

"Looking to the future, this council will work to advise the president when needed and will accord its attention... and make use of its competence to guarantee stability for Timor Leste,'' Mr Araujo said after the ceremony.

One member of the council, Merita de Jesus-Marques, did not attend the ceremony. No reason was given for her absence.

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