Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring
December  2, 2000, Saturday

Unhappy East Timorese leaders threaten to resign from interim administration

SOURCE: RDP Antena 1 radio, Lisbon, in Portuguese 1100 gmt 2 Dec 00



There is an open crisis in the East Timorese administration, with four members of its five-strong cabinet threatening to resign. Only Ramos Horta did not sign a letter of complaint sent to UN administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello. The four unhappy ministers are Mari Alcatiri, Joao Carrascalao, Ana Pessoa and Filomena Jacob.

Joao Carrascalao has been speaking of the frustration of trying to govern a country in which the Timorese have the least say:

Carrascalao I expect the international community thinks Timorization is an active, dynamic and successful process, but the truth is that we, the members of the Timorese cabinet, feel ourselves to be in the situation of second class ministers. We have no working conditions, no support staff, and most of the decisions are taken by foreigners who repeatedly interfere in the management of our affairs. This is totally inadmissible...

Newsreader Another reason for the discontent of the four members of the Timorese cabinet is the process of land allocation. They complain that the commission entrusted with the task only takes into consideration property deeds dated from after the Indonesian occupation, not those from the Portuguese colonial era.

Carrascalao This is an ongoing crisis. The Timorese have been greatly harmed by the actions of this Land and Property Commission, and this state of affairs must be brought to an end.

Timor  has long been an inhabited territory. When the Portuguese arrived in the 16th century there were already people living here under their own traditional laws. And even during the Portuguese colonial period the traditional laws on property ownership were also respected. Now I see that they intend to respect only property deeds issued during the period of Indonesian occupation, and in certain cases they are actually accepting forged deeds issued in Kupang West  Timor  . This situation must not be allowed to go on. It is seriously detrimental to the interests of the Timorese and it can be said to almost amount to daylight robbery.