Department of Foreign
East Timor Transitional Administration
01 October 2001
For Immediate Release
RAMOS-HORTA CALLS FOR AN END TO POVERTY AND TERRORISM IN A TRIBUTE TO COSGROVE
Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr Jose Ramos-Horta paid tribute to Australian hero and friend of East Timor, Lieutenant General Peter Cosgrove, and called for the world to stand together against terrorism and poverty, at a fundraising event for the Northern Medical Research Foundation in Sydney on Friday night.
“I am saddened by, and strongly condemn, the attacks on mosques and Muslim believers, long time residents or citizens of Australia and US. A dastardly arsonist attack took place against a Mosque in Brisbane. What did they want to achieve? The perpetrators of the attacks are debasing and lowering themselves to the level of those they seem to condemn.” Dr Ramos-Horta said.
Commending the Australian Government, the Bush Administration and the European Governments for their emphatic appeals not lash out at fellow Arabic and Muslim citizens, Dr Ramos-Horta appealed to people to remember that the victims of these terrorists are also the people of Afghanistan.
“An unimaginable human catastrophe is unfolding there with millions of innocent people facing death by starvation. The cause of this tragedy are the radical fundamentalist leaders of Afghanistan who have destroyed their own country, and, who have not stopped fighting each other after the Soviet withdrawal more than 10 years ago.” Dr Ramos-Horta said.
East Timor, a country that is 98 per cent Catholic, has elected Dr Mari Alkatiri, a devout Muslim, to lead their first elected government.
“As a Catholic I am proud to serve under a Muslim brother, and I am even more proud that our people have accepted this as absolutely natural.” Dr Ramos-Horta said.
“Can we inspire others? Maybe not as we are too small, we are not so important. But if our message can reach somewhere in the Middle East, if Palestinians and Jews gain courage to meet half-way, bury their hatred and build the bridges of a new future, we the East Timorese would rejoice and thank God.”
Poverty and inequality are the root of so many conflicts around the world, Dr Ramos-Horta said.
“Peace will be illusory as long the rich ignore the clamour of the poor for a better life, as long as hundreds of millions of people live below the poverty line, cannot afford a meal a day, do not have access to clean water and a roof.”
Moving towards a world free of poverty, Dr Ramos Horta proposed a world summit that brings together representatives from the G8, World Bank, Group of 77 (developing nation’s group in the UN), development and human rights NGOs, and the corporate world to debate and fashion a global strategy to combat poverty.
“Globalisation has tied the G8 to the rest of the world. To sink or to swim is the choice they now have to make together.” Dr Ramos-Horta said.
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For further information contact:
Ms Caroline O’Brien
Media Liaison Officer
The Department of Foreign Affairs
East Timor Transitional Administration
Telephone: +61 (0)417 804 298
Mail: PO BOX 6, Dili, East Timor.
José Ramos-Horta Updated Sep 22
* Dr Jose Ramos-Horta is an internationally-renowned spokesperson for the East Timorese cause. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for “sustained efforts to hinder the oppression of small people”.
* Dr Ramos-Horta has been a dynamic and determined advocate for a free and independent East Timor. From 1976 until 1989, he was the permanent representative of the Frente Revolucionaria de Timor Leste Independente (FRETILIN) at the United Nations. He currently holds the position of Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in the United Nations appointed, all East Timorese, second transitional cabinet of East Timor.
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