Subject: AP: East Timor unveils new ministers, tasks them with restoring calm

Also RT: Timor PM says no excuses for inertia in new cabinet

East Timor unveils new ministers, tasks them with restoring calm

07/14/2006 Associated Press

DILI, East Timor_East Timor's new prime minister unveiled his Cabinet on Friday, and tasked the team of political allies and members of the country's ruling party with restoring peace to the tiny nation.

Nine members of the 15-strong Cabinet served under the government of former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, who resigned on June 26 to take responsibility for two months of violence that killed 30 people and sent 150,000 fleeing their homes.

The inauguration took place in a roofless building in the presidential palace, with foreign ambassadors in attendance sheltered from the sun by tarpaulins. The building was damaged by retreating Indonesian troops and militiamen that ravaged the country when it voted to break from Jakarta-rule in 1999.

"The immediate task of this government is to consolidate security," said Prime Minister Ramos-Horta, who replaced Alkatiri on Monday. "Our people have suffered greatly and many, who were poor before the crisis, have now lost the little that they had. This government is not going to find excuses for inertia."

Ramos-Horta picked East Timor's ambassador to the United Nations, Jose Luis Guterres, as the new foreign minister. Guterres is a member of Alkatiri's ruling Fretilin party, but is not known to be close the ex-leader.

Jose Teixeira, who is an ally of Alkatiri, was named minister of natural resources, minerals and energy policy _ an important post given the country's rich natural gas reserves that are being jointly tapped with Australia.

Ramos-Horta said he will hold the defense minister post, as well as being prime minister.

East Timor descended into chaos in May after Alkatiri dismissed just under half of the country's military, triggering fighting between security forces that gave way to gang violence. At least 30 people were killed.

The violence ebbed with the arrival of a 2,700-strong foreign peacekeeping mission headed by Australia.

President Xanana Gusmao, who is revered for leading the country's resistance to Indonesian rule, said the swearing in of the Cabinet "closed a cycle of profound crisis that had threatened the institutions of our democratic state."

"We must now make enormous efforts to bring reconciliation among the East Timorese and to heal the wounds that divide them," Gusmao told the new ministers.

Australian Ambassador to East Timor Margaret Twomey welcomed the Cabinet as step toward stability in the country, but said Australian peacekeepers would remain in the country for some time to come.

"When it is safe to reduce some, we will look into doing that, but not before," she said. "It will be a consultative process."


Timor PM says no excuses for inertia in new cabinet

By Lirio da Fonseca

DILI (Reuters) - East Timor's new cabinet was sworn in on Friday, and the prime minister promised it would quickly get down to the business of restoring security and confidence after months of violence in Asia's newest nation.

Jose Ramos-Horta took over as prime minister after Mari Alkatiri, the leader of majority party Fretilin, resigned the premiership over weeks of clashes, looting and arson in which at least 20 people died and 100,000 were displaced.

The violence flared after Alkatiri sacked about 600 members of the 1,400-strong army when they protested against discrimination tied to regional origins.

A shaky peace was imposed only after an Australian-led international peacekeeping force landed, and many East Timorese remain in shelters.

"All around us there are thousands of internally displaced persons who are still afraid of returing to their homes," President Xanana Gusmao, who appointed Ramos-Horta, said in a message marking the swearing in.

Ramos-Horta, previously the foreign minister, said "national security, economic strength and social stability" were his goals.

"This government is not going to find excuses for inertia," he added in a statement.

Probably the best known name internationally in his cabinet is the new foreign minister, Jose Luis Guterres, who has been East Timor's ambassador to the United Nations and was discussed as a possible prime minister before Ramos-Horta was named.

Ana Pessoa, Ramos-Horta's ex-wife, who had also been mentioned for the top spot and served in the old cabinet, will be minister for state administration in the new one.

Ramos-Horta himself will keep the defence portfolio he had assumed during the latter stages of the violence. His two deputy prime ministers Estanislau da Silva and Rui Araujo do double duty as agriculture and health minister respectively, positions they held in the old cabinet.

Da Silva is a Fretilin stalwart and Araujo an independent. Fretilin, which has 55 seats of the 88 total in parliament, is well represented in the government, and a number of ministers had served in top or deputy spots previously.

"It reflects the depth of talent already available within the ministerial ranks," Ramos-Horta said, adding "nine months is a short time to implement my government's plan of action and the less changes the better".

He was referring to the period before general elections next year may bring in a new government.

President Gusmao said in his statement those elections were ultimately "the appropriate means to resolve the conflicts peacefully and to overcome the crisis".

But he also said without elaborating that reconciliation required justice over recent wrongdoing.

One former cabinet member is now being investigated over supplying arms to civilian militia in the recent violence, and former prime minister Alkatiri has been accused of playing a role in that, a charge he denies.

Economically East Timor, with a million people, is one of the world's poorest countries and has massive unemployment, although in decades to come it is due to receive billions of dollars from energy resources that are now being developed.

Last updated: 14-Jul-06 08:38 BST


07/14/2006 02:26:51 AM EDT Xinhua

JAKARTA, Jul 14, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Timor-Leste's President Xanana Gusmao on Friday swore in a new government soon after the new Cabinet led by Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta was formed, according to media reports from Dili, capital of the young tiny country.

The ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta and his two deputies with a security reinforced by more than 2,200 Australian-led foreign peacekeepers, who have been deployed in the nation to restore peace and order following a violence in May.

The new Cabinet members include Foreign Minister Jose Luis Guterres, Transport and Communications Minister Inacio Moreira, Education and Culture Minister Rosalia Corte-Real and Mineral and Energy Minister Jose Teixeira.

Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta will still hold the defense portfolio.

In a speech to a small crowd, Gusmao said he told the ministers to pay attention to the youth and the veterans, "because the violence that appeared happened because so many youths don't have any work."

Some 20 people were killed and around 150,000 others fled their homes amid battles between rival factions of the military and police as well as ethnic gangs.

Mari Alkatiri resigned as prime minister last month to take responsibility for the unrest in the nation.

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