|Subject: LUSA: Int'l peacekeepers to deploy
outside capital - Presi dent Gusmão
14-06-2006 10:47:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8080381 Temas:
East Timor: Int'l peacekeepers to deploy outside capital - President Gusmão
Dili, June 14 (Lusa) - President Xanana Gusmão, saying the East Timorese government had been "paralyzed" by weeks of violence in Dili, announced Wednesday that international peacekeeping forces assuring security in the capital would soon begin deployment throughout the country.
In a speech to parliament, Gusmão said he was "coordinating" the cross-country deployment with the commander of the largest contingent of the four-nation force, Brig. Mick Slater of Australia.
"We can't allow the population in the interior of the country to live in a climate of insecurity and fear, facing the threat of the loss of lives and property, as happened in Dili", the president told lawmakers, who were joined by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's cabinet and the foreign diplomatic corps.
Dissident officers and troops, who demand Alkatiri's ouster, but protest their loyalty to the president, have taken refuge in several towns south and southwest of the capital.
Gusmão described the spiral of violence since late April in Dili that left at least 25 dead and displaced up to 130,000 people from their homes as "replay" on "a smaller scale" of the violence that surrounded East Timor's 1999 plebiscite for independence from Indonesia.
"And this should send shivers through those elected by this people to guarantee stability, security and improved living conditions" in Asia's youngest and poorest nation, the president said.
Thanking Australia, Portugal, Malaysia and New Zealand for their rapid dispatch of more than 2,000 peacekeeping troops and police since May 25, Gusmão said Dili would need the presence of the international force for "longer than (first) expected" because of weapons in the hands of civilians.
While acknowledging the government had become "paralyzed" and lost control of the crisis that began with protests months ago by soldiers alleging regional discrimination in the army, Gusmão said it was not yet time to point fingers of blame.
He called for a "rigorous examination of conscious" by all the country's political leadership, but stressed it was now "the time to rebuild, rather than to point out blame".
"What happened yesterday has happened", Gusmão told parliament.
"Today we're not going to talk about yesterday because our very first priority is to end the violence and destruction and assure adequate humanitarian assistance", he added.
The prime minister, who was forced to replace his defense and interior ministers by Gusmão June 1, described the president's speech as "clear and good".
Alkatiri told Lusa he was "happy" with the president's announcement that peacekeeping forces would soon begin deployment outside the capital.
Later Wednesday, the government announced it had revised its previously approved 2006-2007 budget by better than 30% to euros 250 million to meet reconstruction needs in the wake of the violence.
The new budget includes wage hikes of between 15% and 25% for the country's civil servants.
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