Bahasa Indonesia Headlines Tuesday
4 September 2001
Xanana Gusmao: All Cabinet members will be Timorese
Interview with Tempo magazine
Xananaís interview with Tempo magazine:
Tempo: At first you dithered on being nominated as president. But you changed your mind later. Why?
Xanana: It was a difficult decision. There were three reasons that made me change my mind. Firstly because of the request made by the Timorese people. Secondly because of the requests made by the political parties. And thirdly because of international pressure. Each time I went to the villages in the districts people came up to me and said they wanted me to be their president. The political parties in their campaigns mentioned my name as their presidential candidate. The international community said I had to be responsible for the fate of the Timorese people. They [the international community] requested that I stand as president.
Tempo: To reject and then accept isnít that a political tactic?
Xanana: No, I am serious. If you want to be true, then be president. I can assure you that it wonít be a pleasant job. Our country is at the crossroads a really important phase in our lives.
Tempo: What will be the total number of Cabinet members and what will be the composition in its transition phase?
Xanana: The new Cabinet will be formed in mid-September. So Iím not really sure. But what is clear is that its size will be bigger than the Cabinet before the election. All members of the new Cabinet will be Timorese. They will be responsible to the Transitional Administrator until Timor Lorosae gains full independence.
Tempo: At this moment what problem have you prioritized to be solved?
Xanana: I think all problems have to be prioritized. The economic question is very important. There is about 80 per cent unemployment. If this problem is not overcome the crime rate will climb.
Tempo: On the question of independence, donít you think the Timorese people have too high expectations?
Xanana: At first, yes. Many people thought independence would instantly change their living conditions. Fortunately, however, people have now come to a realization that they have to work hard to make their dreams come true.
Tempo: What will be the model for the people of Timor Lorosae?
Xanana: We have enough natural resources to be exploited. But for the first few years, I hope the international community will keep helping us. After five years, I think we can stand on our feet based on the rich natural resources we have. We are indeed starting from zero.
Tempo: What is your opinion about the international court to try human rights abuses committed in Timor Lorosae?
Xanana: When we talk about human rights abuses, we have to also go back 24 years ago and not only concentrate on what happened in September 1999.
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