|Subject: AU: E Timor ire over US travel
Also: DR RAMOS-HORTA REACTS TO US TRAVEL WARNING TO TIMOR-LESTE
June 26, 2003
East Timor PM slams US for travel warning
DATELINE: DILI, June 26
East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri on Thursday criticised the United States for issuing a warning to Americans to "exercise extreme caution" in public places in his country.
Alkatiri, speaking to reporters, described the US State Department travel advisory as "a bogus" warning.
"It is not true to say that Timor Leste (East Timor) is not a safe situation now. It is fake and not true. I'm absolutely baffled as to why a country which has been helping Timor Leste all this time would issue such a statement," Alkatiri said.
The State Department Tuesday urged citizens to "exercise extreme caution" in public places such as bars, restaurants, schools, resorts and places of worship. [http://travel.state.gov/easttimor_announce.html]
"Most crimes occur in the capital, Dili, with expatriates often targeted by muggers and burglars," it said.
Alkatiri said crime against foreigners was not rampant in East Timor. "I don't know where they obtained such information."
Last December two East Timorese died and 25 were injured during looting and riots in Dili. Several organisations, including the United Nations, say the riots were organised by unspecified groups.
poverty and unemployment.
Saturday June 28, 2003 FFor immediate release
DR RAMOS-HORTA REACTS TO US TRAVEL WARNING TO TIMOR-LESTE
Timor-Leste's Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dr José Ramos-Horta comments on the US State Department Travel Advice on Timor-Leste.
The US Travel Advices are usually based on US well-known faulty intelligence. Actually the US has no intelligence gathering facilities in Timor-Leste. Often they rely on other sources, such as Australian. And we all know how criminality in Australia and in the US is far higher than in Timor-Leste. So I find these so-called travel advices by Australia and the US mostly faulty, baseless and politically motivated to cover their backs because of previous intelligence failures elsewhere.
The US and other Western countries have a far higher level of violence, organized crime and gangs, racist and supremacist groups, with rampant proliferation of weapons, including in the hands of students and house wives, making them far more dangerous than poor developing countries like Timor-Leste that always fall victim to Western countries stereotypes.
Timor-Leste is very safe with very low level of criminal or political violence, without any trace of the presence of extremist terrorist groups.
For further information please contact:
Elisa da Silva or Crisogno Araujo Division of Public Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Email: email@example.com Phone: 7237158/7238095 or 7239547