Subject: Lusa: Sacked interior minister elected ruling FRETILIN party's V-P

East Timor: Sacked interior minister elected ruling FRETILIN party's V-P

Dili, June 4 (Lusa) - The contested leadership of East Timor's ruling FRETILIN party closed ranks Sunday, electing as its vice- president the former interior minister whose resignation was demanded by President Xanana Gusmão.

FRETILIN's Central Committee unanimously picked ex-Internal Administration Minister Rogério Lobato as party vice-president three days after he abandoned Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's government, taking political responsibility for the "disintegration" of the police command and the deadly clashes between his force and the army.

Politically independent, Gusmão assumed control of all Timor's security forces last Tuesday and demanded the resignation of Lobato and Defense Minister Roque Rodrigues, who also stepped down Thursday.

The Central Committee, meeting under a heavy Australian security presence, also elected other party officials.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Alkatiri, whose leadership before and during the crisis has been questioned domestically and by Canberra, told Lusa Australia was beginning to "recognize the reality" of Timorese politics.

The prime minister was referring to comments earlier Sunday by Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer who said the Timorese crisis would only worsen if Alkatiri resigned, as demanded by dissident Timorese army officers.

Another apparent sign of Canberra's changing attitude was the presence Sunday, for the first time, of Australian troops providing personal security for Alkatiri and for the FRETILIN leadership meeting.

The mostly Australian military and police peacekeeping force, in Dili for nearly two weeks, had faced some criticism for not providing stronger security for the prime minister.

Alkatiri has suggested that his party's supporters across the country would not understand his eventual resignation and cautioned that as many as 200,000 could converge on the capital in his defense.

He also said he understood Lisbon's insistence on keeping its freshly arrived GNR paramilitary police contingent under autonomous Portuguese command.

Australia's pressure, including a frustrated blitz visit to Lisbon last week, for a single "unified command", he said, was based on Canberra's "experience in other situations".

"But there are other forms of coordination that can be positive", Alkatiri told Lusa.

SAS/ASP.

Lusa

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FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE COMITÉ CENTRAL DA FRETILIN

1ª Reunião do CCF após o II Congresso Nacional da FRETILIN

1st Meeting of the Central Committee following the 2nd National Congress of FRETILIN

DECLARATION

The FRETILIN Central Committee, having met this 4th of June 2006, debated the current situation in the nation and resolved as follows:

1. Praise the leadership of FRETILIN for the determined and courageous manner in which it has defended democratic values and the Constitution of the Republic.

2. Reiterate its total support to the government headed by comrade Secretary General, Mari Alkatiri.

3. Reaffirms its support to the principle of inclusion in forming the government.

4. Congratulate itself for the mature form in which the overwhelming majority of the Maubere people reacted to the total situation, particularly the militants of FRETILIN.

5. Praise His Excellency, the President of the Republic for the decision to create the mechanisms for harmonization and coordination with the Government and National Parliament with the view of strengthening institutional solidarity and the defense of the Constitution of the Republic.

6. Express gratitude to the Secretary General of the United Nations for the immediate dispatch of a Special Envoy to evaluate the situation “in loco”.

7. Express gratitude to the governments of Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal for the prompt response to the request for assistance and the prompt and rapid deployment of forces to Timor-Leste to put and end to hostilities and avoid the spilling of blood.

8. Exhort all the groups that have practiced violence to end such acts and reject discriminatory practices in our midst so as to contribute to the development of peace and stability of our people.

9. Appeal to all units, militants and sympathizers of FRETILIN to continue vigilance and support to the authorities in restoring law and order.

Dili, this 4th day of June 2006

President of FRETILIN Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo

Secretary General of FRETILIN Mari Alkatiri


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