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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06DILI334
2006-06-27 15:12:00
SECRET//NOFORN
Embassy Dili
Cable title:  

EAST TIMOR SITREP FOR 27 JULY

Tags:   PGOV  MOPS  ASEC  KCRM  AEMR  AS  TT 
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VZCZCXRO2007
OO RUEHCHI RUEHNH RUEHPB
DE RUEHDT #0334/01 1781512
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 271512Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2735
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0565
RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RUEHXX/GENEVA IO MISSIONS COLLECTIVE
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 0638
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 0556
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0398
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO PRIORITY 0419
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0495
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 0289
RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 2060
						S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 DILI 000334 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS
NSC FOR HOLLY MORROW
USPACOM FOR JOC AND POLAD
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 6/27/2016
TAGS: PGOV MOPS ASEC KCRM AEMR AS TT
SUBJECT: EAST TIMOR SITREP FOR 27 JULY

REF: (A) DILI 316; (B) DILI 333

DILI 00000334 001.2 OF 003


CLASSIFIED BY: Grover Joseph Rees, Ambassador, EXEC, State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 DILI 000334

SIPDIS

NOFORN

DEPT FOR EAP/MTS
NSC FOR HOLLY MORROW
USPACOM FOR JOC AND POLAD
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 6/27/2016
TAGS: PGOV MOPS ASEC KCRM AEMR AS TT
SUBJECT: EAST TIMOR SITREP FOR 27 JULY

REF: (A) DILI 316; (B) DILI 333

DILI 00000334 001.2 OF 003


CLASSIFIED BY: Grover Joseph Rees, Ambassador, EXEC, State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (U) Summary:
--- President Gusmao will lead interim government for 30 days;
--- Alkatiri resisting summons to defend against criminal
charges;
--- Pro-Alkatiri demonstrators may enter Dili tomorrow;
--- Senior Australian official may visit Dili on Thursday;
--- Security update.
End Summary.

President Gusmao will lead interim government for 30 days
-------------- --------------
--------------


2. (U) President Xanana Gusmao convened a Council of State (COS)
meeting today. The eleven-member advisory body concluded its
meeting at 2:30 p.m. with a recommendation that the state of
crisis Gusmao had declared on 28 May be extended another 30
days. Under the continued state of crisis, Gusmao will preside
over a caretaker government and will ask specific people to take
on ministerial functions without the title of minister. All
ministers in former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's cabinet were
automatically dismissed in accordance with article 112 of the
Constitution when the President accepted Alkatiri's resignation
yesterday. The Council of State did not discuss who would fill
these roles, but after the Council of State meeting the
President met with several pro-Gusmao and/or "moderate"
ministers from the Alkatiri Government, including
ex-Foreign/Defense Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, ex-Labor Minister
Arsenio Bano, and ex-Interior Minister Alcino Barris.


3. (SBU) The Council of State called on the Fretilin party,
which still holds a majority in Parliament, to hold an
extraordinary party congress as soon as possible in order to
elect party leaders by secret ballot as required by law. Gusmao

has made clear that since the mid-May Fretilin congress acted
illegally by electing party officials by a public show of hands
rather than by secret ballot, there is currently no legitimate
Fretilin leadership with whom to negotiate on the formation of a
government. See Ref A. Gusmao initially wanted the Fretilin
congress to occur within one week, but he agreed to the one
month timeframe after Fretilin President Francisco "Lu'olo"
Guterres said it might take that long to organize the gathering.


4. (SBU) One Council of State member told Poloff that several
COS members had pressed Gusmao to dissolve Parliament. Gusmao
reportedly resisted the suggestion, preferring to focus on the
Fretilin extraordinary congress.


5. (SBU) Although the President is not expected to appoint an
interim Prime Minister to head the transitional government, he
may appoint a "principal administrator" who would perform the
same functions. Possible candidates for this position include
Ramos-Horta, Bano, and ex-Minister of Health Rui de Araujo.


6. (U) This evening the President's office issued a press
release stating that the President would govern under the
declaration of crisis until July 30 and would use the time to
try to form a new government without dissolving Parliament. The
statement said that if it should prove impossible to do this,
the President would consider dissolving Parliament.


7. (SBU) Comment: President Gusmao's course of action, although
it will result in a longer timetable for formation of a new
government than some of the other options open to him, seems
designed to comply strictly with the applicable provisions of
the Constitution. The Constitution requires that a Prime
Minister be designated by the party or coalition that holds a
parliamentary majority and appointed by the President. Because
Fretilin holds a parliamentary majority, the President chose to
wait for the party to elect its leaders in accordance with law
so that they can propose a new Prime Minister. If this does not
happen within 30 days, or if the new leadership does not propose
a candidate whom the President deems acceptable, he could

DILI 00000334 002.2 OF 003


dissolve parliament under the constitutional provision giving
him authority to do so in a "grave institutional crisis making
it impossible to form a government." See Ref B. The President
may also be counting on the likelihood that his interim
government will become far more popular in the next 30 days than
the Alkatiri government ever was. This might put pressure on
Fretilin to propose as Prime Minister a leader from within the
interim government, such as Ramos-Horta, Bano, Dr. Araujo, or
Ambassador Jose Luis Guterres, rather than a party insider. End
Comment.

Alkatiri resisting summons to defend against criminal charges
--------------


8. (C) Ambassador spoke today with Prosecutor General Longuinhos
Monteiro, who confirmed reports that his office had issued a
summons to ex-Prime Minister Alkatiri. The summons requires
Alkatiri to submit to an interview this Friday, June 30, in
connection with charges that he authorized the illegal
distribution of arms to Fretilin militants who say they were
instructed to kill certain government opponents. Ex-Minister of
the Interior Rogerio Lobato has reportedly signed a sworn
statement to prosecutors that he did distribute the arms and
that Alkatiri endorsed and authorized the distribution, although
Lobato denies that he told the armed group to kill anyone.
Prosecutor General Monteiro says he has received dozens of phone
calls and text messages from Alkatiri, some abusive and
threatening, demanding that the summons be withdrawn. Alkatiri
reportedly asserts that the charges are lies, that he is afraid
he will be harmed if he goes to the Prosecutor's office, and
that he enjoys immunity from prosecution as a newly-minted
Fretilin Member of Parliament --- a status Alkatiri claims to
have acquired automatically since he was an elected member of
the pre-independence Constituent Assembly, which became the
Parliament on May 20, 2002, the same day he became Prime
Minister. (Note: East Timor's Constitution does provide
immunity from prosecution to Members of Parliament, but only for
words and acts done "in their official capacity".) Monteiro has
reported the threatening messages to President Gusmao and to the
Australian-led Joint Task Force (JTF), which is providing
Monteiro with personal protection.

Pro-Alkatiri demonstrators may enter Dili tomorrow
--------------


8. (U) The demonstration against former Prime Minister Mari
Alkatiri that had grown to several thousand people yesterday
began to dissipate today. Emboffs estimate there are presently
less than 1,000 of these demonstrators near the Government
Palace, although others may remain elsewhere in Dili. The
demonstrators continue to be peaceful. Meanwhile, at least 40
trucks full of pro-Alkatiri demonstrators waited all afternoon
approximately 20 minutes out of Dili. The group began
proceeding toward the city this afternoon, but stopped about ten
kilometers outside the city when Alkatiri and President of
Parliament Lu'Olo came to address the group. The two senior
Fretilin leaders requested that the convoy return to the village
of Metinaro approximately 30 minutes outside Dili, spend the
night there, and wait for instructions tomorrow. Alkatiri and
Lu'Olo reportedly delivered inflammatory speeches, with Alkatiri
saying he had been "wrongfully deposed by corrupt and unjust
people" and Lu'Olo suggesting that Fretilin had fought a
guerrilla war from the mountains for 24 years and could do so
again. Meanwhile Major Tara, one of the key organizers of the
ongoing anti-Alkatiri demonstrations, met with President Gusmao
this afternoon and told reporters that the President had asked
him to begin moving the mostly "Loromonu" (western)
demonstrators out of Dili to avoid any clashes with the
pro-Alkatiri group from the east. The Embassy sent a warden
message reminding American citizens to avoid crowds and avoid
the Government Palace area. (Comment: Alkatiri and Lu'Olo may
have agreed to keep their demonstrators out of Dili for another
day in exchange for Gusmao's commitment to try to persuade the
anti-Alkatiri demonstrators to leave so that the two groups

DILI 00000334 003.2 OF 003


would not be in Dili at the same time.)

Senior Australian official may visit Dili on Thursday
-------------- --------------
--------------

9. (S/NF) Australian EmbOff hinted today that one of
Australia's top government officials will likely visit East
Timor on Thursday of this week. Embassy speculates that it is
likely to be Prime Minister Howard who will visit, as he has not
yet made a trip to Dili since the arrival of Australian troops.

Security update
--------------


10. (U) The Australian Federal Police (AFP) reported
confiscating three pistols from police (PNTL) officers during
the night. The police officers reportedly claimed that they had
thought they had to give up only their long guns, not their
pistols.
REES