Subject: RDP: Timorese premier says he will not resign over violence

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific - Political Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring

December 4, 2002, Wednesday

Timorese premier says he will not resign over violence

SOURCE: RDP Antena 1 radio, Lisbon, in Portuguese 0900 gmt 4 Dec 02

Excerpt from report by Portuguese radio on 4 December

Presenter Dili is once more experiencing violent times. Cars and buildings have been set alight, shops looted. Two people are confirmed dead but some reports speak of five dead. It is a chaotic situation. Students and police clashed in the East Timorese capital yesterday. Students organized a protest march against the arrest of a student accused of murder. In the last few hours the situation has deteriorated considerably and is out of control. Protesters also set alight Dili's mosque and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's house. In an interview with RDP1 this morning Mari Alkatiri spoke of these events...

Alkatiri This was a little unexpected, despite sporadic, isolated incidents of public disorder. We never thought things would go this far. A small incident in a school was turned into a major incident.

Reporter Is there a clear orchestration of all this?

Alkatiri I have no doubt. This operation was part of a very clear strategy with very clear targets.

Reporter Clear targets - including international targets and your family.

Alkatiri Yes, yes, once more. This is our situation, our fate. But I think that people are fooling themselves because if this is what they want for the future of East Timor, then they are making this country not viable.

Alkatiri There is contradictory information. Some say the mosque has been burnt down, others say only the shacks around the mosque have been destroyed. The information is not certain.

Reporter Will you resign?

Alkatiri This is my post - I was not invited by anyone. I was put here by my party, which received the most votes. Only my party can remove me. I will never resign or run away.

Reporter So you will not reshuffle your cabinet either?

Alkatiri A reshuffle might occur but not in the terms that some people are demanding. There could be a reshuffle if the council of ministers deems it necessary. At the moment I cannot see it.

Reporter What can you tell the international community from here, your office with broken windows overlooking a burning city?

Alkatiri I can only ask the international community to see this as an isolated incident. If they continue to believe in us, then let them support us at this difficult moment because we will be able to improve things...


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