Subject: AKI: Problems Can Be Solved Only Via Dialogue, JRH


Dili, 22, 22 November (AKI) ­ In response to the recent violence that has blighted his island state, East Timor Prime Minister, Jose Ramon-Horta, is exhorting young people to talk to each other to solve their differences. "It is dialogue that will contribute to peace and harmony and not crime and violence. There is no other way," Horta told AdnKronos International (AKI) in an interview on Wednesday. "I ask the youth to stop the violence," he added.

Horta’s remarks come in the wake of a series of clashes late last week in which four people were killed. The violence seems to have started when a group of youths belonging to Colimau 2000 attacked a local chapter of a martial arts club in Estado village.

Colimau 2000 is an organisation set up by former underground youth activists during Indonesia's occupation of East Timor which ended in 1999.

Among those killed was a Brazilian missionary, Jose Barros Soares. His death shocked and angered many in the tiny Southeast Asian country.

"Those who killed the missionary are animals. Because of them, East Timor ha lost face in front of the international community," the prime minister said.

“Mr. Soares was in Timor to help,” Horta added.

In regards to the national dialogue, Domingas Micato Alves, President Xanana Gusmao’s envoy for the Commission of the National Dialogue vowed to carry on, despite the murder of one of their members.

East Timor president Xanana Gusmao has created a Commission of National Dialogue to try and bring together the rival factions.

However, Jose Luis Oliveiro, Executive Director of Legal Aid, Human Rights and Justice Foundation or Yayasan HAK, said that while dialogue can help minimise tension, it can not solve the underlying reasons for the violence - a task which needs to be tackled by government.

"The government should work more to create job opportunities and [recreational] outlets like football or martial art competitions so that young people can get involved and show their talents,” He told AKI.


Nov-22-06 10:36

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