Subject: LUSA: Against 'alarmism', Alkatiri acknowledges possible terror threat

29-10-2002 18:29:00. Notícia nº 4279811…

East Timor: Against 'alarmism', Alkatiri acknowledges possible terror threat

Dili, Oct 29 (Lusa) - Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri acknowledged Tuesday that East Timor could be a potential target of Al Qaeda terrorism but warned against "unnecessary alarmism" that could jeopardize the country's development.

The presence of "international (UN) forces" in East Timor could make it "a potential target for terrorism, especially of Al Qaeda actions", Alkatiri told Lusa in Dili.

"Vigilance should be reinforced", he added, while cautioning against over-reaction.

"I don't agree that we begin entering into unnecessary alarmism because East Timor needs to transmit an image of stability and peace", he said, referring to the need to rebuild the country and attract investors.

In a recently released videotape, Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden named Australia as a target for its role in aiding East Timor gain freedom from predominantly Muslim Indonesia in 1999.

Australians, who are heavily represented in the UN peacekeeping force in East Timor, were the nationality suffering the most victijs in the recent terror bombing in Indonesia's Bali resort.

Alkatiri also said that he "reacted violently" last month when Australian and other UN forces took emergency anti-terror security measures in Dili without discussion or authorization from the Timorese government.

ASP/SAS -Lusa-

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