Subject: RadMoz: Alkatari on CNRT Congress

BBC Summary of World Broadcasts September 02, 2000, Saturday Source: Radio Mozambique, Maputo, in Portuguese 1030 gmt 30 Aug 00

Text of recorded telephone interview with Fretilin member Mari Alkatiri in Dili by correspondent Daniel Valentim in Maputo by Mozambican radio on 30th August

A session of the Timorese Resistance National Council's (CNRT) Congress ended in Dili this morning. Nothing significant came out of the meeting. Instead of strengthening unity among the various political forces, the Congress is said to have heightened divisions.

The 470 delegates approved the CNRT's statutes, re-elected Xanana Gusmao as president, and Jose Ramos Horta and Mario Carraslacao as vice-presidents. Portuguese was adopted as East Timor's official language.

Mari Alkatiri, a Fretilin [Revolutionary Front for East Timor Independence] official, spoke on the line from Dili to our Maputo correspondent, Valentim Daniel. In terms of decisions, Alkatiri said the Congress was shallow.

[Alkatiri] To be honest, no strategic decisions were taken at the Congress. The Congress was carefully planned with a view to maintaining the status quo, though with a facade of change. The intention was to have an uneventful Congress in terms of strategy.

[Daniel] Have any changes been made to adapt the CNRT to the new situation in East Timor?

[Alkatiri] The only change that has been made was to strengthen the power base of three people - Xanana, Ramos Horta, and Mario Carrascalao. I would say it was done in a Machiavellian fashion. So, the change has been for the worse.

[Daniel] At the weekend, Xanana Gusmao stated publicly that he would not be available to carry on serving as CNRT chairman. What has prompted him to change his mind?

[Alkatiri] That was all part of a meticulously devised strategy that appealed to the emotional rather than the rational element, and so people lost their ability to reason. The result of that is there for everyone to see.

[Daniel] It has been reported that the Congress approved Portuguese as East Timor's official language. Does the Congress have the powers to make such a decision?

[Alkatiri] A decision had to be taken by a Timorese body that enjoyed a degree of legitimacy. Ultimately, a decision will have to be taken by the parliament of an independent East Timor or a constituent assembly. No one could have denied the CNRT's right to take a step in that direction. The CNRT did just that.

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