Subject: East Timor's Ramos-Horta Calls For Peace, National Unity

May 20, 2008 Tuesday


Text of report in English by Japan's largest news agency Kyodo

Dili, May 20 Kyodo - East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta marked his country's sixth anniversary Tuesday with an appeal for peace and national unity.

"I appeal to the state, the civil society and the political parties to strengthen peace and national unity so that we can move ahead for the betterment of the nation," Ramos-Horta said at the Anniversary of the Restoration of Independence of East Timor.

Pointing to an assassination attempt on him and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao on Feb. 11, Ramos-Horta said the peace in the country is "still fragile" and the government is "still weak."

He also called on the government for greater efforts to fight poverty, particularly by providing more support for agriculture to improve production.

The 1996 Nobel Peace laureate concluded his speech by calling on the political parties in the country to work together and promote dialogue for peace.

"We should indeed love the nation, avoid violence but also forgive and accept each other," he said.

A source in the presidential office told Kyodo News that Ramos-Horta will visit Becora Prison in Dili on Wednesday and is likely to grant remission of sentences for a number of prisoners.

Justice Minister Lucia Lobato said on state television Monday night the government has listed 100 prisoners for remission, adding former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato is on the list.

Lobato was jailed last year for distributing guns to civilians during a 2006 mutiny in which 11 people died.

But he was in prison for only two months before the government allowed him to go to Malaysia for health treatment, where he remains.

Source: Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 1052 gmt 20 May 08

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