Subject: AFP: Bush condemns Timor president shooting

Bush condemns Timor president shooting

1 hour ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) ­ US President George W. Bush on Monday condemned the assassination attempt on East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta and said the failed attack will not "derail democracy" in the fledgling country.

"I strongly condemn the violent attacks against Jose Ramos-Horta, President of Timor-Leste, and Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister of Timor-Leste," he said in a statement released by the White House.

"Those who are responsible must know that they cannot derail democracy in Timor-Leste, and they will be held accountable for their actions," the US president said.

Ramos-Horta was shot and seriously wounded Monday by rebel soldiers in an assassination attempt that plunged the fledgling nation into a fresh crisis.

The Nobel peace laureate was airlifted to Australia for emergency treatment after being shot in a dawn gun battle at his residence in which rebel leader Alfredo Reinado was killed, said Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

Gunmen also targeted the home of Gusmao himself in coordinated attacks that prompted a state of emergency in the fragile nation, where international forces remain on patrol after being deployed amid unrest in 2006.

Bush said he and US First Lady Laura Bush offer "our condolences to the families of those killed in the attacks, and we send our prayers for a rapid recovery to President Ramos-Horta and the others injured."

"The United States remains committed to working with the people of Timor-Leste to strengthen democracy there," said the US president.

"I also offer my full support to the Government of Timor-Leste, the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste, and the International Stabilization Force as they work to maintain calm and security," he said.

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