Subject: AKI: Parties making headway towards new government says Alkatiri

East Timor: Parties making headway towards new government says Alkatiri

Dili, 20 July (AKI) - Fretilin, the largest party in East Timor after the 30 June parliamentary elections, said it was satisfied with the progress of negotiations on the formation of a government. In a statement sent to Adnkronos International (AKI), the party also reaffirmed its will "to designate the next prime minister."

"The aim of Fretilin and President of the Republic Jose Ramos Horta in these negotiations has been to find a solution which will bring stability to the country. That is why we invited all parties to form a government of 'Grand Inclusion'," said Fretilin secretary general Mari Alkatiri.

"No agreement has yet been reached, but we are satisfied with the progress of negotiations," he added.

Fretilin said that it is holding bilateral negotiations with the Democratic Party (PD), the Association of Timorese Social Democrats (ASDT), UNDERTIM and the Democratic Alliance between KOTA and PPT.

"We are also negotiating with CNRT through the President of the Republic. I am always ready to meet Mr Xanana Gusmao as leader of CNRT to discuss policies and the program for national development," Alkatiri said, referring to a new party formed by former president and independence hero Xanana Gusmao.

After the 30 June general election failed to produce an outright winner, both Fretilin and an alliance led byGusmao are claiming the right to form a government in the tiny southeast Asian country.

Alkatiri resigned as prime minister last year and international peacekeeping troops returned to the country after deadly ethnic clashes in which 120,000 people were forced to abandon their homes,

Since April 2006, more than 135 people have been killed in the clashes and another 55,000 remain in refugee camps.

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