Fwd [GLW}: EAST TIMOR: Jose Ramos Horta: ‘CNRT will?==?ISO-8859-1?Q? cease to exist'

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Sun Aug 20 06:49:22 MDT 2000

The following article appears in the current issue of Green Left Weekly

EAST TIMOR: Jose Ramos Horta: ‘CNRT will cease to exist'

DILI -- Speaking at a meeting of the just weeks-old East Timor Press Club
on August 12, Jose Ramos Horta, vice-president of the National Council for
Timorese Resistance (CNRT) said that the CNRT would cease to exist “in six
to 12 months' time”.

According to Horta, “political parties will have to take over” the role so
far played by CNRT. “There is no role anymore for ‘resistance'; it has
served its purpose”, he said.

Horta told the audience that those without a political party inside the
CNRT, such as himself, Xanana Gusmao and Mario Carrascalao, were not afraid
of relinquishing the power they currently have as senior members of CNRT.
Speaking for Gusmao and himself, Horta said they would continue to monitor
the work of parties, particularly during the campaign period. He expressed
concern about the possibility of a return to the days of chaos and civil
war between Fretilin and the Timorese Democratic Union (UDT) in 1975. “We
have waited for 24 years for this moment, so let us do it right”, he said.

Horta paid tribute to the role of the existing political parties --
Fretilin, the UDT, the Socialist Party of Timor and the Christian
Democratic Party -- in the victory won by East Timor's people against
Indonesian occupation.

In response to what he called “East Timor's rumour mill”, Horta defended
the CNRT against charges that it was divided and fractious. He pointed out
that the CNRT was unlike many resistance organisations in other countries,
which, once in power, tended not to include those who had previously
opposed the resistance. He cited the African National Congress and
Nicaragua's FSLN as examples.

Individuals who hold senior positions in the CNRT or in the transitional
cabinet and who were part of the Indonesian administration include Mario
Carrascalao (former governor of East Timor) and Mariano Lopes da Cruz
(former district head of Maliana and deputy head of the regional
parliament). Lopes da Cruz is inspector-general in the transitional

Sources in the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor
have said that elections are likely to take place in the second half of
2001, to commence around August. It is still unclear whether the people
will elect members of a parliament or a constituent assembly.

Addressing the issue of regional alliances, Horta confirmed that both ASEAN
(Association of South-East Asian Nations) and the South Pacific Forum were
attractive options. He praised the ASEAN governments' contributions to
rebuilding East Timor and emphasised the need for good relations with these
countries, whose economies are important.

Horta did not mention how such government-to-government relations might
affect relationships with the “people's movements” for democracy in some of
these countries.

Four days after Horta's Press Club address, Lusa news service reported that
a new centre-right political party, the Social Democratic Party (PSD), will
be launched in early September, with Carrascalao and Horta at its head.

Carrascalao told Lusa that the PSD “will be one more option for those who
do not have one and for those who do not feel mobilised for the period of
reconstruction”. He added that the party will include “about 10” leading
personalities. The report also stated, “The new party would seek support
among people tired of `the revivalism of the past' of the historic Fretilin
and UDT”.

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