Subject: AFP: East Timor's FM warns political parties to behave

AFP, May 11, 2006

East Timor's FM warns political parties to behave

East Timor's Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta has warned political parties in the tiny nation to behave themselves in the wake of recent unrest or face losing credibility ahead of elections next year.

Speaking in an interview broadcast on national radio Ramos-Horta said parties must restrain from using violence.

"I call on all parties to know that those who want to spread disunity, scare or threaten the people will not be chosen by the people" in the 2007 elections, the Nobel peace laureate said.

"Whoever wants to lead this country in the future would have to have a good standing and not use violence in getting power, because they would not be recognized by the international community."

He cited the case of the Palestinian territories, where democratically-elected Hamas was being snubbed internationally "because they continue to implement violence in a continuous way."

"Do not seek violence, because you are the ones to suffer because of that, but respect the people and respect international regulations," he warned.

Dili was rocked by a riot on April 28 that saw at least five people killed. It began with a rally in support of nearly 600 soldiers who were sacked when they deserted their barracks complaining of ethnic discrimination.

More than 100 buildings were destroyed or damaged as well in the worst unrest to hit the nation since it voted for independence from Indonesian rule in 1999. It caused more than 20,000 people to flee the capital in fear.

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said this week that the riot as well as an attack on a government office outside Dili on Monday, in which one policeman was killed, were a continuing attempt to stage a coup.

He said his opponents wanted to cripple East Timor's democratic institutions so the president would be forced to dissolve parliament.

Separately, a statement from Ramos-Horta's office Wednesday said it was "sad and disturbing" that the leader of the Democratic Party, Fernando Lasama, along with his wife "are instigating unrest." It did not elaborate.

The Democratic Party won 8.7 percent of the vote in 2002 elections, the second highest portion after the ruling Fretilin party of Alkatiri, which scored 57.4 percent.

Fretilin was the party at the core of East Timor's 24-year resistance struggle against Indonesian rule while the Democratic Party bills itself as being a party of the younger generation.

-------------------- Joyo Indonesia News Service 

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