Subject: ETCRN: Statement 9 March 2007



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We have the right to engage in politics, but we have an obligation and responsibility to not let politics become violent

Reflecting on the difficult situation in Timor Leste that the country now faces, and the importance of the Presidential Election next month, ETCRN calls on all Timorese to demonstrate our moral and political responsibility to repudiate violence. This is the time to demonstrate our responsibility to safeguard this country from violence and to restore the dignity of Timor Leste and its people, which has been lost in the recent crisis. We have the right to engage in politics, but we have an obligation also to be responsible not to let politics become violent. With this in mind, ETCRN wishes to make the following statement:

1. Congratulations to the leaders of Timor Leste who have shown responsibility and commitment to attempt to halt the violence in Dili by consolidating constitutional power to reduce the violence.

2. Congratulations to the youth of Dili who have shown responsibility in their respect for law and order by ceasing acts of violence over the last few days. We appeal to the people to maintain calm and give the nation time to resolve the crisis.

3. We give sincere condolences to all of our friends who have died and deep solidarity to the families of victims who have perished during the crisis.

4. We appeal to all groups who have contributed directly or indirectly to the escalation of the crisis to demonstrate responsibility in promoting peace for the people. We especially call on Alfredo Reinaldo and his followers accept the appeals from the state to surrender and to submit to the justice process of the state, to prevent further loss of life among his followers and further civilian deaths.

5. We proclaim our concern and condemn the violence in Dili, which has resulted in destruction looting and burning of private and state property, including recent attacks on the Ministry of Education. ETCRN believes that the development of education in Timor Leste is the route to our future. It is possible to criticize policies or to demonstrate allegiance to any political groups, but violence must cease.

6. We appeal to the state and our leaders to restore stability to the country and to guarantee democratic, free and fair elections in April 2007.

7. While considering their choice of a president for 2007-2012, we appeal to all citizens to contribute to the restoration of calm and peace and to the elimination of fear and threats before and during the elections. By encouraging open discussions and debates in families, schools, work places and generally in society, every voter can make the best possible choice among the presidential candidates in this coming election.

8. We appeal to the Ambassadors whose countries have decided to undertake emergency evacuation of their nationals to reappraise this decision in light of the continuing need of the important and valuable contribution to resolving the humanitarian crisis made by these individuals.

Dili, 9 March 2007

Jose Caetano Guterres, Coordinator of the ETCRN Committee (English Translation, Phyllis Ferguson)

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