|Subject: LUSA: Alkatiri rebuts President's
criticism of first veterans' benefits
East Timor: Alkatiri rebuts President's criticism of first veterans' benefits
Dili, Dec. 19 (Lusa) - Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has said he is "somewhat worried" about the apparent "disinformation" that led President Xanana Gusmão to criticize the government decision to begin paying benefits to East Timorese independence war veterans.
"There are people working for the president that are giving him incorrect information", judging that "only (the president) is doing the work and the government nothing", Alkatiri said Saturday on returning to Dili from a three-day visit to Cuba.
On Thursday, Gusmão, in a speech in parliament, criticized the East Timorese government's decision to begin paying benefits to a first group of former guerrilla freedom fighters as premature and risking provoking "instability and confusion".
The president questioned the government's "criteria" and the need for the continued work of veteran verification committees that he coordinates.
Alkatiri, in apparent criticism of Gusmão, said the government had "done all the work", at a cost of less than USD 5,000, while the president's verification teams had yet to complete their assessments after three years of work.
"I'm somewhat worried because the President of the Republic has been kept informed by me about the whole process. The president is well informed", Alkatiri said.
"But now, abruptly, the president says (the government's decision) is precipitate", he said, adding that "there is no precipitation whatever".
The prime minister charged that there were "people working with the president" who were generating "disinformation".
These persons, whom Alkatiri did not identify, did not include veterans participating on the committees whom the government had also consulted, he said.
A first group of 36 guerrilla veterans is to begin receiving benefits this month, according to a government announcement made last month.
imprimir | guardar | fechar
Copyright © 2003 Agencia Lusa. Todos os direitos reservados. www.lusa.pt