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Source of Original Interview in
Source of Unofficial Translation into English: http://timorbanafatin.blogspot.com/2006/06/dream-is-getting-harder-and-harder_08.html
Original Title: Mari
Alkatiri, Primer ministro de Timor Oriental "El sueño está cada vez
Miguel Mora, Dili
2 Junio 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
“The dream is getting harder and harder”
Joint interview to PM Alkatiri by El País
[Spain] and Público [Portugal]
QUESTION: How would you define
the changes in the government?
ANSWER: The President has
suggested that two persons should leave and I have replaced them. I
believe it shows I am no dictator, as some people argue, but very
Q: Do you say that because you have converted Ramos-Horta in a
super-Minister after he has criticized your management?
A: Mr. Ramos-Horta has three personalities: Foreign [Affairs] minister,
Peace Nobel Prize and a person. I appreciate the Peace Nobel Prize one
Q: But he will be your Defence minister.
A: Maybe the Nobel will bring Peace to Defence!
Q: Have you learnt any lessons from the [current] crisis?
A: Many. The first one is that such a young and small country has to
create Estate security with solid bases and rigorous criteria in
electing its responsible personnel. The second, that it has to think
very clearly which reforms to undertake in order to maintain its
national sovereignty, because foreign powers prefer us to be dependent
rather then independent.
Q: Do you think these [foreign] powers have to do with the initial
A: I have no doubts that foreign interests are in play.
Q: Do you not feel responsible?
A: The PM is the main responsible for everything.
Q: But you do not resign.
A: If I thought that it would save the country, I would. But if I did
resign I would only aggravate the problem. I do not want to be a martyr
because I am not, but I cannot give that step. My party has already
demonstrated that it can bring 200.000 people to Dili.
Q: Do you think the crisis is over?
A: No. We have a humanitarian crisis because there are thousands of
refugees that need help; and an institutional [crisis] because the
administration is working less then 50% and the Parliament is not yet
Q: International troops are responsible for the Estate’s security. Does
that mean that East Timor has lost its sovereignty?
A: Naturally. But it is only part of a temporal [lost of] sovereignty
to avoid further blood spilt.
Q: Did you imagine that ethnical hatred between Lorosae (East) and
Loromonu (West) would be like this?
A: I am very surprised. During the war for independence against
Indonesia I was away, but before that problem did not exist. It arouse
in 1999, at the end of the [Indonesian] invasion. This heritage is the
worst Indonesia left us.
Q: Is there an ethnical division in the country?
A: I do not think so. If there were this would be irreversible.
Q: Do you suppose that this crisis represents the end of East Timor’s
A: The dream is getting harder and harder. We gave a long step back. I
do not yet know how long but a long one. But we shall make a great
effort to return to normality. We have money. We are the only third
world country with no external debt.
Q: But many young people cry: Communist, Muslim, Mozambiquean, arrogant.
A: We all know where this country’s idea of independence comes from.
And if they do not know it, they should learn it. Some have died, the
struggle goes on. In those days nobody talked about my religion or my
character. We were adventurous, half-an-island between two giants. We
achieved independence and I suddenly became a foreigner. Arrogant? Even
my family says so. But I have sensibility. What I do not have is that
Javanese culture of smiling to everyone and then stag them in the back.
As to Communist, I cannot see how East Timor could be Communist when no
one else is it anymore.
Q: Do you believe that the [internal] struggle for power detonated the
A: Yes. But not between the President and myself. That is false.
Q: Did Ramos-Horta want to be PM?
A: If he wants to be, I recommend him to return to Fretilin or to
create a new party.
Q: Any message to the international community?
A: That it assume its responsibility. Three months ago we requested
support from the UN, suggesting to the Council to send a small mission
and they have decided not to. And they have seen that we had reasons to
ask for it. Maybe someone wanted to avoid a multilateral presence in
order to have a bilateral one.
// posted by nv @ 12:35 AM
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