Subject: LUSA: New PM, govt bring hope of solution to crisis, says EC chief Barroso

12-07-2006 12:26:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8165306 Temas:

East Timor: New PM, govt bring hope of solution to crisis, says EC chief Barroso

Brussels, July 12 (Lusa) - European Commission President José Manuel Barroso welcomed on Wednesday the appointment this week of East Timor's new prime minister, José Ramos Horta, saying he hoped the choice of Dili's former top diplomat as government chief brings "hope of a solution to the recent crisis" in the infant nation.

A communiqué signed by Barroso and the EU's development and humanitarian aid commissioner, Louis Michel, said Brussels hopes Timor's new government takes office "as quickly as possible" to "begin the process of stabilization" after months of turmoil that led to the deployment of international peacekeepers.

One of Timor's main aid partners during its four years of independence, the EU dispatched an envoy to Dili last week to carry out a detailed analysis of the situation to allow Brussels to improve its cooperation with one of Asia's poorest states.

The EU has also said it is considering upgrading its office in Dili to full delegation status, rather than running this bureau as a branch of its representation in Indonesia.

Sworn in Monday by President Xanana Gusmão, Prime Minister Ramos Horta has promised an "inclusive" cabinet that, while including figures from outside of Fretilin, the dominant political force in Timor's legislature, will not differ substantially from the previous administration.

As part of a compromise with Fretilin after the ousting of ex- prime minister Mari Alkatiri, two of the former government chief's ministers, Estanislau da Silva and Rui Araujo, have been appointed as deputy-prime ministers.

The rest of Timor's new government is now expected to be appointed Friday, after successive postponements of the unveiling of the incoming cabinet that was originally scheduled to take office Wednesday.

Talks between President Gusmão and leaders of Timor's political parties on the composition of the new executive had been fixed for Wednesday, but leaders of the three largest opposition forces did not appear for their encounter with the president.

Mario Carrascalão, leader of the second largest opposition party, the PSD, told Lusa that all three of Dili's main opposition forces would only talk to the president after the formation of a new government The first meeting of Dili's new cabinet is due to take place Friday afternoon and high on the agenda is the budget draft of the previous government for state expenditure totaling USD 315 million - the nation's biggest ever - for the financial year beginning July 1.



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