Subject: Lusa: Alkatiri's FRETILIN 'politically dishonest' - President Gusmso

07-11-2006 11:47:00 GMT

East Timor: Alkatiri's FRETILIN 'politically dishonest' - President Gusmso

Dili, Nov. 7 (Lusa) - The political standoff in East Timor between President Xanana Gusmao and former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has escalated with the head of state accusing Alkatiri's dominant FRETILIN party of political dishonesty in its analysis of the country's recent spiral of violence.

Gusmao, in an opinion piece published by local newspapers in Portuguese Monday and in Tetum Tuesday, charged FRETILIN's leadership had shown a "total lack of political honesty" and had "insulted common intelligence" by suggesting the violence had been orchestrated by unnamed "internal and external actors" bent on toppling its government and constitutional order.

"I implore, pray and ask" FRETILIN to present with "the greatest detail" the alleged power-grab plan and to identify those responsible, GusmAo said in his article, promising to publish a follow-up piece.

He described the official FRETILIN analysis of the crisis, issued Oct. 29, as "counter-intelligence" and "counter-information".

Alkatiri, contacted by Lusa, declined to react immediately, saying he was awaiting the promised second article and consultations with his party's No. 2 leader, Parliament Speaker Francisco Guterres, before taking a public stance.

"If the shoe fits, wear it", was his only laconic comment on the president's remarks.

In a mid-crisis showdown, Gusmao forced Alkatiri to resign in June, holding him responsible for the disintegration of the security forces and of fuelling the violence by arming civilians.

A UN inquiry report into the April-May rampages that killed dozens of people and displaced some 180,000 from their homes, recommended that former Alkatiri administration security officials be held "criminally accountable" for arming civilians.

The report also suggested "further investigation" into whether Alkatiri was also responsible for the weapons scheme.

With general elections expected during the first half of next year, analysts said virulent debate over the causes of the recent violence and who was responsible would likely continue to dominate the Timorese political agenda.

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