Subject: Lusa: Alkatiri arrives Portugal for routine medical exams

Alkatiri arrives Portugal for routine medical exams

Lisbon, Nov. 9 (Lusa) - East Timor's controversial former prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, arrived Thursday in Portugal for a medical check-up, admitting he might stand in planned legislative elections next year if that was the will of his dominant FRETILIN party.

"I never was a candidate for prime minister", he told journalists on arrival at Lisbon airport, adding that he had been named to the post by the party after placing first in the country's first legislative polls in 2001.

While the final word was up to FRETILIN, Alkatiri, the party's secretary-general, said his recent experience would oblige him to "reflect" on a future political role.

He declined to comment on the ongoing investigation by Timorese authorities into suspicions he helped fuel the country's recent spate of violence by arming civilians, allegations he has denied, saying the process was under judicial wraps.

Alkatiri reaffirmed he was ready to cooperate totally with the investigation, which began before a UN inquiry recommended last month that "further investigation" be carried out to determine whether he should be held criminally accountable, along with his former interior and defense minister and the chief of the armed forces.

The security situation at home was now "much better", he said, adding that he was cooperating with the new government which was following his program.

Alkatiri was expected to return home by the end of the month after undergoing routine medical exams in Portugal and possibly visiting Mozambique, officials in Dili told Lusa. (Lusa)

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