Subject: Lusa: Criticizing Gusmao Is Political Suicide, Ramos Horta Warns Fretilin

East Timor: Criticizing Gusmao Is Political Suicide, Ramos Horta Warns Fretilin 16 Aug-18:00

Senior East Timorese leader Jose Ramos Horta warned the historic pro-independence Fretilin party Wednesday against opposing independence leader Xanana Gusmao, saying such a stance would represent political suicide.

"Whoever criticizes Xanana Gusmao today will die like a fish, will die politically through its mouth," Ramos Horta, a Nobel Peace laureate, told Lusa in Dili.

He was reacting to Fretilin criticism that Gusmao's preparations of the upcoming congress of the umbrella National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) was "illegal."

Ramos Horta, a CNRT vice president and, like Gusmao, a former leader of Fretilin, said the criticism came as a "surprise" because Fretilin knew "perfectly well" that Gusmao had been mandated to ready the congress, starting Monday, by the CNRT's national political commission.

Gusmao, the CNRT's president, was "venerated" throughout the territory, Ramos Horta added, calling on partisan leaders to show "a little humility and loyalty."

Assuming a supra-partisan stance, Gusmao has angered some leaders of parties by publicly denouncing what he has termed their inappropriate ambitions for power at a time East Timor's needs national unity.

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