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Background:
Mar 28 BBC: Gusmao resigns as East Timor leader
"I feel, as president of the National Council, that any attempt to overcome the deadlock is in vain due to the lack of willingness [of Council] members, ... As I refuse to be part of a politically irresponsible process, I hereby tender my resignation,” East Timor independence leader Jose “Xanana” Gusmao
"I think it was my duty, my moral duty, to accept this challenge [presidency of ETimor’s National Council interim parliament]. There has been a lot of disorientation, sadness, consternation and general concern among the population, the youth and the members of the National Council. I have spoken with Sergio Vieira de Mello head of UNTAET, with Xanana Gusmao and with practically every political party, and also with Mari Alkatiri Economic Affairs Minister and Ana Pessoa Internal Administration Minister, and they all thought that it would be important for the National Council to continue its work, and to, how should I put it, to avoid a breaking point, and that it would be important to send a message of continuity, seriousness and tranquility to the whole of the population, and naturally to the international community as well." Jose Ramos Horta, vice-president, National Council of the Timorese Resistance

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific - Political

April  1, 2001, Sunday

Timor:  New president of interim parliament says it was his duty to accept post

RDP Antena 1 radio, Lisbon, in Portuguese 1300 gmt 31 Mar 01

Excerpt from report by Portuguese radio on 31 March

Reporter
Jose Ramos Horta vice-president of the National Council of the Timorese Resistance and Nobel Peace laureate in 1996 has replaced Xanana Gusmao as the president of East Timor’s National Council interim parliament for the next three months. What has motivated you to accept this challenge?

Jose Ramos Horta
I think it was my duty, my moral duty, to accept this challenge. There has been a lot of disorientation, sadness, consternation and general concern among the population, the youth and the members of the National Council. I have spoken with Sergio Vieira de Mello head of UNTAET, UN Transitional Administration in East  Timor, with Xanana Gusmao and with practically every political party, and also with Mari Alkatiri Economic Affairs Minister and Ana Pessoa Internal Administration Minister , and they all thought that it would be important for the National Council to continue its work, and to, how should I put it, to avoid a breaking point, and that it would be important to send a message of continuity, seriousness and tranquility to the whole of the population, and naturally to the international community as well. Therefore, and in the light of the vacancy left by Xanana Gusmao, given that there is a vacant post, I have accepted to occupy it. Xanana Gusmao has called me and we have talked on the phone. He seemed to be very happy with this solution.

Reporter
What is going to change in this totally-Timorese National Council under your presidency?

Horta
Well, I do not know if I am going to do things differently, in the same way I do not know which was the working method of the National Council, or the methods of the previous president, among other things. If I am able to contribute with something else, and to suggest other working methods, then - interrupted by reporter

Reporter
For example?

Horta
I would say that it would be better for us to avoid motions, let us have consensus, because there are no disputes between parties, this the National Council is not a parliament of opposition, this is not an elected body, it is instead a consultative body, which makes recommendations. So, why should we insist on having motions? It is necessary to work creatively, with tranquility and tolerance, in order to implement what is decided by general agreement. Sometimes, when the surroundings are too formal, the atmosphere becomes heavy, people feel more restrained, they start taking sides, and sometimes I feel like asking them: Why are we discussing this in this room, where the acoustic is not even the best? Why are we not in the Areia Branca beaches, where we would feel more relaxed, and where we can in the shade? Why not going to a restaurant instead? Of course, some motions and consensus need to be carried out in the solemnity of the room of the National Council , but the debate, the discussion, may be done at home, and lobbies work like this all over the world, the work of any parliament is done in this manner. This is why I would like to invite some cabinet members to present their points of view directly to the National Council, without confrontation, but through dialogue instead. We should work through cooperation, not through rivalry or confrontation.

Reporter
This cooperation will last only three months, because the National Council will cease to exist. As Sergio Vieira de Mello head of UNTAET, UN Transitional Administration in East  Timor  said, you would then return to your role of Foreign Affairs Minister, but it has also been said that with you at the head of the National Council, new changes may occur, namely, the opening of the Council’s interim discussions to the population of East  Timor  through radio and television.

Horta
Absolutely, I actually thought that was already in place. I think that the National Council should be totally available for live broadcast, if the radios wish to do so, because it is also their decision, if they want to broadcast live or simply to make recordings and to broadcast later, because a body of this nature, in other words, representative of a people, should be transparent...


Mar 31 Reut: Ramos-Horta replaces Gusmao as Timor leader  News
"Nobel peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, foreign minister of U.N.-run East Timor, will take over as head of the territory’s de facto parliament, the United Nations said on Saturday. He replaces independence leader Xanana Gusmao, who quit last week over internal squabbling which he said was hampering the tiny territory’s push for independence." Reuters

Mar 29 RA: Allies back Gusmao's decision to quit East Timor assembly  News
"The civil society needs more his time and work rather than the national council. So he wants to continue to bring the people together to really reflect on the constitution so that it can be a legitimate one, reflects the peoples’ wishes, spirit and soul as he puts it, so his time is better used elsewhere rather than in the national council." Agio Pereira

Mar 28 BBC: Gusmao resigns as East Timor leader  News
"I feel, as president of the National Council, that any attempt to overcome the deadlock is in vain due to the lack of willingness [of Council] members, ... As I refuse to be part of a politically irresponsible process, I hereby tender my resignation,” East Timor independence leader Jose “Xanana” Gusmao


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