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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08DILI118
2008-04-24 06:22:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Dili
Cable title:  

PRESIDENT RAMOS-HORTA ANNOUNCES PARDONS, CALLS FOR PETROLEUM

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  TT 
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RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 3411
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DILI 000118 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS
PACOM FOR POLADS - CHRISTY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/24/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV TT
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT RAMOS-HORTA ANNOUNCES PARDONS, CALLS FOR PETROLEUM
FUND CHANGES

REF: DILI 113

DILI 00000118 001.2 OF 002


CLASSIFIED BY: Henry M. Rector, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S.
Embassy Dili, Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)



Summary

-------
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DILI 000118

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS
PACOM FOR POLADS - CHRISTY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 4/24/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV TT
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT RAMOS-HORTA ANNOUNCES PARDONS, CALLS FOR PETROLEUM
FUND CHANGES

REF: DILI 113

DILI 00000118 001.2 OF 002


CLASSIFIED BY: Henry M. Rector, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S.
Embassy Dili, Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)



Summary

--------------

1.(U) On the morning of April 23, Timor-Leste President Jose
Ramos-Horta addressed the National Parliament, recounting in
detail his efforts to negotiate with dissident military police
commander Major Alfredo Reinado prior to the rebel's attacks
against him and the Prime Minister on February 11, which left
Reinado dead and the President seriously wounded. In an effort
to allay rumors, he denied there had been a pre-arranged meeting
between himself and Reinado, and stressed that the Timorese
soldiers at his compound had reacted appropriately by opening
fire. He publicly asked opposition leader Mari Alkatiri to lead
an advisory body on economic and social development, and
reiterated his 4-point solution to the problem of the
ex-military petitioners based on re-integration into the Armed
Forces (F-FDTL) via a vetting process. The President also
announced that on May 20, he would pardon about 80 persons who
had served jail terms, including former Minister of the Interior
Rogerio Lobato. Finally, he called for the Petroleum Fund law
to be amended so that its revenues could be used to offset the
rising cost of food. At present, Ramos-Horta said, the Fund was
only helping "the United States Treasury." End summary.

Lobato To Be Pardoned

--------------

2.(SBU) Timor-Leste President Jose Ramos-Horta addressed the
National Parliament on April 23. Perhaps the biggest surprise
in the President's speech was his announcement that on May 20 he
would pardon about 80 persons who have served jail terms,
including former Minister of the Interior Rogerio Lobato, who
has served prison time for acts committed during the crisis of
2006 and is currently seeking medical treatment in Malaysia.
Ramos-Horta went as far as to call Lobato "a hero for

independence. " (Note: according to chapter 11, section 85 (i)
of the Constitution, "It is exclusively incumbent upon the
President of the Republic to grant pardons and commute sentences
after consultation with the Government." It is not known
whether Ramos-Horta has already consulted with the government on
his plans.)

On the Petitioners, Reinado and Salsinha

--------------


3. (U) The President reiterated his 4-point solution to the
problem of the petitioners as follows: a) there will not be
readmissions by groups into the F-FDTL; b) readmissions will be
considered under a new recruitment process based on the 2006 law
of compulsory military service; c) the petitioners who want to
return to the F-FDTL must submit to a new recruitment process
without guarantees their applications will be accepted; d) the
petitioners who prefer to return to civilian life will be
eligible to receive a monetary incentive equivalent to three
years of salary.


4. (U) The President noted that he reached out openly and in
good faith to Reinado and his deputy Lt. Gastao Salsinha
throughout 2006 and 2007 notwithstanding criticism from the
justice sector and others. He charged both men responded in bad
faith and that Reinado's ego was fed by attention from local and
international journalists which "led him to become even more
arrogant and irrational." Regarding Salsinha, who remains at
large, the President stated he was not worthy of bearing the
title of lieutenant because the rebel violated all honor codes
of the armed forces. He added Salsinha was in no position to
make demands on the government or to address himself to the
Chief Executive, as he did last week through a public letter.
His only option, the President said, was to surrender. On the
Prosecutor General's investigation into the February 11 attacks,
Ramos-Horta announced it will be completed by next July, and

DILI 00000118 002.2 OF 002


observed that evidence proves both men received assistance from
foreign and domestic supporters in the form of new uniforms,
cell phones, weapons, gas, and equipment.

President Reaches Out To FRETILIN

--------------


5. (U) The President said he intends to restart the dialogue
initiated before the February 11 attacks between the government
and all opposition parties, and said that "conditions exist to
reach an understanding between the AMP government and other
political forces in this National Parliament," including the
main opposition party FRETILIN. He then publicly asked Dr.
Alkatiri, whom he called "a friend and colleague of many years,"
to "join his Cabinet" leading development assistance in
political, economic, social, and institutional aspects. The
President reasoned that it is to Timor-Leste's benefit to take
advantage of Dr. Alkatiri's knowledge and experience, and that
of other respected (FRETILIN) ex-ministers such as Estanislau da
Silva, Dr. Ana Pessoa, and Dr. Jose Teixeira, whom he called
"patriots with a deep understanding of the petroleum dossier and
who feel the pain of the poor."

Petroleum Fund Policy Changes

--------------


6. (U) Signaling a possible shift of policy, the President
called for the Petroleum Fund law to be amended so that its
revenues could be used to offset the rising cost of food. He
observed that the Petroleum Fund Law enacted under the First
Constitutional Government was an "intelligent, serious and
transparent solution, but circumstances have changed. The fund
presently only benefits the U.S. Treasury." He noted that
rising food and fuel costs threaten to impoverish millions
around the world and in Timor-Leste. The government must
initiate a dialogue with opposition parties to alter the
Petroleum Fund Law in "as consensual a manner as possible."

Comment

--------------


7. (C) The President's speech was peppered with messianic and
biblical references, and his belief that God spared his life for
the purpose of promoting reconciliation in Timor-Leste's
political landscape, improving the lives of the poor, and
leading the nation towards peace and prosperity. He compared
his destiny with that of other great men who had been targets of
assassins, including Martin Luther King, Pope John Paul II, and
John and Robert F. Kennedy. Ramos-Horta also lavished praise on
F-FDTL commander Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, whom he said
"has a heart of gold" in spite of the fact the general was
recommended for prosecution in a UN inquiry report into the 2006
crisis. He also praised as "exemplary" the human rights record
and conduct of military and police personnel conducting the
joint operations against Reinado's deputy Gastao Salsinha and
his men following the attacks. Absent from the speech was any
reference of support for early elections, which had reportedly
figured in an early draft.
KLEMM