VARIOUS: Australian Prime Minister John Howard and East Timorese welcome the resignation of Prime Minister Mari...
- Title: VARIOUS: Australian Prime Minister John Howard and East Timorese welcome the resignation of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri
- Date: 26th June 2006
- Summary: VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS IN THE STREETS OF DILI AHEAD OF ALKATIRI'S ANNOUNCEMENT
- Reuters ID: LVA28E5VLUO689D3EHBLG9TOEUFQ
- Duration: 00:00:28
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: International Relations,Domestic Politics
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Protesters who have been demonstrating for the past week in the East Timor capital, Dili, welcomed Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's resignation with spontaneous celebrations on the street on Monday (June 26) after hearing the news.
Thousands paraded on the streets of the capital and praised the country's President, Xanana Gusmao.
"For Mari Alkatiri, this is a good decision as well as for the people of Timor Leste. I think this decision is acceptable for everyone," said Augustino, one of the many thousands celebrating in the capital following the announcement.
East Timor's embattled prime minister resigned saying he would take a share of responsibility for a political crisis that has gripped the world's newest democratic nation for over two months.
There was no immediate word on a replacement, but the news was welcomed by thousands of cheering protesters. blaring their car horns as word of his resignation spread.
Alkatiri said he was stepping down in order to avoid the resignation of the nation's widely popular president, Xanana Gusmao, who had threatened to quit himself unless the prime minister left office.
"Considering that above all interest are the interests of our nation, assuming my own share of responsibility for the crisis affecting our country, determined to not contribute to any deepening of the crisis, recognising that the people of Timor Leste deserve to live in peace and tranquility, believing that all militants and symphatisers of Fretilin will understand and support this position, I declare, I'm ready to resign from my position of Prime Minister of the Government of RTL (Republic of Timor Leste), so as to avoid the resignation of his excellency the President of the Republic," Alkatiri said at a news conference.
He read only from a statement and refused to answer questions.
Alkatiri has been widely blamed for violence which erupted in late May after fighting within the armed forces spiralled into rioting, arson and looting in the streets of the capital, Dili.
Alkatiri's resignation has been the rallying cry during protests by thousands of Timorese that peaked in the past five days after damaging revelations in an Australian news documentary linked him to a plot to arm a civilian militia.
In Indonesia, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he was glad East Timor seemed to be resolving its political dilemma.
When asked, if he was happy about the resignation of Alkatiri, John Howard expressed pleasure at the direction of the developments in the young state of East Timor.
"Resolving the impasse, breaking through the logjam, whatever other expression you want to use, and to that extent I am pleased. But that expression of pleasure should not be taken as an expression of view of who should occupy particular positions in East Timor," said Howard.
Australia has not set a timetable to withdraw its troops from the region however John Howard said earlier that Australian troops will not remain indefinitely. He also said he would like to see East Timor resolve its own problems.
East Timor was a Portuguese colony for centuries before a revolution in Lisbon in 1975 gave the territory a brief taste of independence.
Indonesian troops invaded a few days later and Jakarta annexed East Timor in 1976.
After a 1999 vote for independence marked by violence blamed largely on pro-Jakarta militia with ties to the Indonesian army, an international peacekeeping force moved into the territory, ushering in a transitional period of U.N. administration before East Timor became a fully fledged nation in 2002.
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- Embargoed:11th July 2006 13:00