Subject: President Gusmão: “Solidarity” Operation

From UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Friday, 31 December 2004

President Gusmão: “Solidarity” Operation

With regards to the recent contribution from the government of Timor-Leste towards the victims affected by the Tsunami tragedy, President Gusmão in a radio address today informed the public of the recent disaster that occurred in Indonesia. He said, “To the population of Timor-Leste, dear friends, a week ago, a big natural disaster called Tsunami occurred. In Dili, not long ago we felt an earthquake and people were leaving their homes scared. The recent earthquake was a big one. Big in that it was from the ocean, forcing the waves onto the land, which affected many nations”.

President Gusmão appealed to the citizens of the country to contribute as little as “10, 20, or 50 cents”, and public servants for as much as “$5, $10 … the donation will not be big “, he said, “but it shows that we have not forgotten their support at times when we were in need”. (Radio, Timor-Leste)

Following is the communiqué issued by the Office of the President:




We have been following continuously the horrible consequences of the fatal TSUNAMI, that has devastated towns and villages and has put many thousands of families in mourning;

We have been following the pain of so many mothers and the distress of families who have seen their children and loved ones swallowed by violent waves, that have invaded their homes bringing death and destruction;

We have been following the anguish and the worry of the local, regional and central governments in the face of such a tragic event;

We feel, with enormous sadness, our incapacity to render support, both with material and human resources, to the victims and survivors of this catastrophe that has devastated Aceh, in the north of Sumatra in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the region of Tamil Nadu in India, Thailand, Maldives and other locations.

The people of Timor-Leste want to share with the brother peoples of Indonesia, of Sri Lanka, of India, of Thailand, of Maldives, Seychelles and Malaysia, the burden of suffering and pain that lacerates them these days.

We are the poorest country in SE Asia, and also the smallest population in the region. Even so, we are determined to overcome the large waves of the sea that have taken many of thousands of lives in these countries.

The Government of RDTL announced yesterday its contribution as part of the humanitarian aid to the region affected by the Tsunami.

In my capacity as the President of the Republic, I wish to announce also the launching of ‘Solidarity Operation’, destined to demonstrate the empathy of the People of Timor-Leste to the victims of the Tsunami, in general, and in particular to the victims of the province of Aceh, in our neighbour Indonesia.

I make an appeal to all of the Timorese, in the whole extent of the national territory, for each one of you to contribute with whatever you can for this ‘Solidarity Operation’. I make an appeal to the Parishes to participate in this solidarity collection.

I make an appeal to all of the civil servants and all those who have a stable job to contribute as you can. Each department of State should establish a mechanism for the collection and delivery of the proceeds.

I make an appeal to all of the enterprises, both national and international, to participate in this solidarity campaign of Timor-Leste towards Indonesia, in particular, and towards the victims of the Tsunami in general. The banks ought to open a special account to receive the donations.

Next January, I shall go to Jakarta in order to deliver symbolically to the President of the Republic of Indonesia, the donations derived from the People of Timor-Leste as a gesture of solidarity that should reach our spirits in the troubled and difficult days in which we now find ourselves.

Díli, 31 December 2004.

The President of Republic, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão

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