Subject: RT: East Timor's Gusmao vows to tackle security, poverty

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East Timor's Gusmao vows to tackle security, poverty

Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:25AM BST

By Tito Belo

DILI, Sept 13 (Reuters) - East Timor Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao pledged on Thursday to improve security and use funds earned from rich energy reserves to tackle poverty as he set out his new government's priorities for the tiny nation.

Sporadic violence has erupted across parts of East Timor since early last month when President Jose Ramos-Horta appointed a coalition led by independence hero Gusmao to govern after no party won a majority in parliamentary polls on June 30.

"Everything is urgent for this nation, we are defining priorities for the short term," Gusmao told parliament.

The appointment of Gusmao sparked violent protests by supporters of the former ruling party, Fretilin, which claims the right to govern after winning most votes in the polls.

Gusmao promised to reform the security and judicial sectors and decentralise authority.

The former president also said that he would push for the United Nations to maintain its presence in the country.

Factional bloodshed broke out in the impoverished country of about 1 million people last year, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.

The mayhem, during which 37 people were killed, was triggered by the previous government's decision to sack 600 soldiers.

About 3,000 international police and troops are currently in East Timor to restore order.

Gusmao said his administration would provide assistance to help some of the displaced people return to their homes.

He also stressed that his government would focus on poverty reduction by using some of the more than $1 billion from an oil and gas fund.

But Aniceto Guterres, the leader of the Fretilin faction in parliament, said the government's programme did not reflect the needs of the people and said the former ruling party did not consider the new government as legitimate.

"Our position is clear that this government is unconstitutional but as a parliament member and Fretilin representative in national parliament we will still discuss the government's programme," said Guterres.

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ETimor PM sets out plans for government

 
DILI , Sept 13 (AFP) - East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao pledged to prioritise security as he read out his plans for governing the tiny nation over the next five years to parliament on Thursday.
 
Gusmao said that although many issues needed urgent attention in the conflict-ravaged nation, in the short term his government would work to improve security and get thousands of refugees back home.
 
Unrest flared on Dili's streets in April and May last year between security force factions after protests by dismissed soldiers, with at least 37 people killed and some 155,000 people displaced. Most are still in camps.
 
Gusmao said his government would work "to be able to guarantee people who still live in harsh conditions in refugee camps that they can return to their homes and start their lives anew."
 
He also said that resolving an ongoing stand-off with rebel Alfredo Reinado and his followers -- some of the dismissed soldiers, known as petitioners -- would be a priority.
 
"We will study reports on settling the problem of the petitioners... and effectively solve the problem with Alfredo Reinado and his group and guarantee justice," he said.
 
The former president, who was sworn in as prime minister after June polls this year, said he would also oversee an audit of public organisations in a bid to fight corruption and increase the performance of the justice system.
 
The former ruling party, Fretilin, has disputed the constitutionality of his government, leading to ongoing sporadic violence in the young nation.


 

 


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