Subject: Gusmao should quit, says E Timor's ex-PM

also Ramos Horta dismisses allegations Gusmao involved in 2006 crisis

Gusmao should quit, says E Timor's ex-PM

January 14, 2008 - 3:37PM

The Age

East Timor's former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has called on current Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to resign, amid claims he orchestrated deadly unrest that erupted in 2006.

Alkatiri resigned as prime minister in June that year after a request from then President Gusmao, based on allegations that Alkatiri and several of his ministers gave instructions to arm civilian militia during the crisis.

His government had earlier sacked more than a third of the country's defence force, sparking factional violence that left 37 people dead and drove 100,000 from their homes.

Many of the sacked soldiers joined the rebellious former military police chief Alfredo Reinado, who last week alleged Gusmao was the "mastermind" who had fomented the unrest.

"I think that it is time for Xanana to resign from his post because he has established a precedent in 2006 based on allegations without fact," Alkatiri said on Sunday.

Alkatiri said the people of East Timor were waiting to find out the truth behind the crisis.

Gusmao should resign and submit to justice, he said.

"Nobody in this country is untouchable," Alkatiri said.

He said a task force set up to investigate the 2006 crisis was a sham and would never return and adverse finding against Gusmao.

President Jose Ramos-Horta should also be pushing for Gusmao's resignation, Alkatiri said.

"Ramos-Horta, as foreign minister, was very supportive of Xanana to force me to resign.

Now he is president of the republic and he has to do the same."

Local media last week reported that Gusmao was refusing to respond Reinado's claims, saying he did not want to engage in a "war of words".



Monday January 14, 08:35 PM


Ramos Horta dismisses allegations Gusmao involved in 2006 crisis

East Timor's President Jose Ramos Horta has dismissed allegations that the current prime minister was involved in instigating the crisis that engulfed the country in 2006.

Renegade East Timorese Major Alfredo Reinado lead a band of soldiers who deserted the Army in February 2006.

Widespread violence soon followed - 20 people were killed and 150,000 people fled their homes.

Former prime minister Mari Alkatiri says the country's current Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao should resign based on allegations he was involved in the crisis.

But Dr Ramos Horta says he will not be calling for the Prime Minister's resignation.

"I cannot do it because these are allegations by one individual in a very vague manner."

Dr Ramos Horta says although he believes it is a case of political bickering, the allegations are being looked at.

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