Dr. Ramos-Horta's continuing efforts to resolving still prevailing
tension, 12 May 2006
In the course of the day yesterday (Thursday, May 11), Nobel
Peace Prize Laureate, Senior Minister and Minister for Foreign
Affairs and Cooperation, Dr. José Ramos-Horta, continued
his efforts to contribute towards resolving some of the tension
still prevailing in parts of the society.
Dr. José Ramos-Horta traveled to Aileu where he visited
the district PNTL (National Police of Timor-Leste) headquarters
and briefly addressed its officers praising them for their prudence,
restraint and moderation in dealing with difficult situations.
Minister Ramos-Horta also urged the PNTL members in Aileu not
to allow themselves to be manipulated or influenced by different
political agendas or parties, reminding them that they must be
neutral in upholding law and order and that they are foremost
Timorese and members of a national institution.
The Foreign Affairs Minister then toured the town and its surroundings
- with only his normal everyday personal security - and was able
to see how the Aileu district is calm with people going about
their lives, and civil services, schools and local markets open.
Dr. Ramos-Horta was told by the local officials how diligent
the Cuban doctors, NGOs as well as government officials are all
continuing to provide basic services to the population.
Finally Ramos-Horta met with a number of members of the F-FDTL's
military police who on May 4, in the height of the tension in
Dili, had separated and stationed themselves in Aileu. This group
- 20 military police and 4 from the UIR (Rapid Intervention Unit)
- has with them about 20 or so assorted weapons including pistols.
Foreign Minister Ramos-Horta conversed with their leader and
others for over two hours. The conversation was conducted in a
most fraternal and honest atmosphere with the soldiers pledging
their allegiance to the Head of State and to F-FDTL. They also
rejected any notion that they had deserted. They also expressed
their strong opposition to violence and pledged they will not
be involved in any actions that would harm anyone including the
Government. However, they demand an honest and open dialogue within
the armed forces as well as a thorough investigation into the
incidents on April 28, i.e. to find out the exact number of deaths
and their cause. Senior Minister Ramos-Horta will continue his
talks with these active-duty men. The Minister informed them he
had sent a letter wrote to the UN Human Rights Commissioner in
Geneva, inviting that body to send an expert investigation team
Major Alfredo Alves Reinaldo emphasized his group had no relationship
with the group of ex-F-FDTL members - the so-called 'petitioners'
- led by former Lieutenant Gastão Salsinha. Minister Ramos-Horta
has also remained in contact with Mr Salsinha.
Promptly after his return to Dili, Minister Ramos-Horta briefed
Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and the Commander of the F-FDTL,
General Taur Matan Ruak. Following the meeting Dr José
Ramos-Horta is able to assure everyone that on the F-FDTL leadership
there is no hostile attitude towards their comrades who are in
Aileu and there will be no imprudent action taken.
Today, the Foreign Minister met with the Bishop of Dili, the
Rev. Dom Ricardo Silva, and with H.E. President Xanana Gusmão,
to brief and coordinate with them any initiatives that might be
At 1pm today (Friday, May 12), Dr. Ramos-Horta will address PNTL
members at their headquarters.
Meanwhile, an hour-long live interview by Foreign Affairs Minister
Ramos-Horta on TVTL (Timor-Leste Television) and re-broadcast
through RTL (Radio Timor-Leste) has been extremely well received
by the population. It had the effect of calming thousands of people.
As a result, there has been an outpouring of text messages and
phone calls from people from all walks of life congratulating
and thanking Dr Ramos-Horta for his wise and calming words but
also for his forthright honesty.
During the interview, Dr Ramos-Horta warned Timor-Leste's political
parties to behave responsibly in the wake of the current situation
or face losing credibility ahead of elections next year. He said
that the Timorese people are very wise and will not vote in the
2007 elections for those who want to spread disunity, and scare
or threaten the people.
The Senior Minister said in his message to the country that those
who want to lead Timor-Leste in the future will have to have a
good standing and not use intimidation or violence in getting
power, because they would not be recognised by the international
The Nobel Peace Laureate appealed to all his fellow countrymen
not to seek violence, because only the Timorese would suffer.
Instead Dr Ramos-Horta appealed to all to respect the people,
government institutions and international regulations.