Viewing cable 06DILI293

06DILI2932006-06-05 15:11:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Dili
DE RUEHDT #0293/01 1561511
O P 051511Z JUN 06
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 05 DILI 000293 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  6/2/2016 
DILI 00000293  001.2 OF 005 
CLASSIFIED BY: Grover Joseph Rees, Ambassador, EXEC, State. 
REASON: 1.4 (a), (b), (d) 
¶1. (U) Summary: 
Pro-Xanana security ministers are sworn in; 
Superior Council endorses President's security plan; 
Ramos-Horta begins Defense Minister duties; 
FRETILIN Central Committee endorses Alkatiri, promotes Lobato; 
Australia on post-UNOTIL planning; 
Anti-Alkatiri demonstration reportedly cancelled at President's 
Parliament reconvenes to address crisis measures; 
Portuguese paramilitary police unit arrives; 
Security conditions in the city; 
Judiciary attempts to regroup; 
SCU files recovered, damage assessment in progress; 
Internally displaced persons; 
American citizens and Embassy security. 
End summary. 
Pro-Xanana security ministers are sworn in 
¶2. (SBU) On Saturday, June 3, Jose Ramos-Horta was finally sworn 
in as the new Minister of Defense (which he will hold together 
with his Foreign Affairs portfolio) and former Vice Minister 
Alcino Baris was sworn in as Minister of the Interior.  Both are 
regarded as loyal to President Xanana Gusmao and likely to 
follow his instructions even in the event they receive 
conflicting instructions from Priime Minister Mari Alkatiri. 
The President presided at the swearing-in ceremony, which was 
attended by the Prime Minister, by President of the National 
Parliament Francisco "Lu'Olo" Guterres and by other Timorese and 
international dignitaries. Among those in attendance was the 
commander of the armed forces (FDTL), Brigadier General Taur 
Matan Ruak, a former Gusmao protege who had been estranged from 
the President.  Gusmao and Matan Ruak met privately before the 
ceremony for what was described as a tearful reconciliation, and 
Matan Ruak exchanged a heartfelt embrace after the ceremony with 
his old friend and new boss Ramos-Horta. 
Superior Council endorses President's security plan 
¶3. (U) Immediately after the swearing-in ceremony President 
Gusmao convened a meeting of the newly reconstituted Superior 
Council on Defense and Security.  The Council, including the new 
ministers, the police (PNTL) and FDTL commanders, Alkatiri, and 
Lu'Olo, unanimously endorsed a plan the President presented for 
ending the security crisis.  The plan reportedly contains no 
surprises.  In particular, FDTL members are to remain in their 
barracks for the time being while PNTL activities in Dili will 
consist of office work and unarmed patrols in co-ordination with 
intenational forcs.  Embassy Dili is expecting to receive a copy 
of the plan momentarily and will report further details in 
Ramos-Horta begins Defense Minister duties 
¶4. (U) On Sunday, June 4, the day after he was sworn in as 
Minister of Defense, Jose Ramos-Horta began work on this 
portfolio with a visit to the armed forces (FDTL) base in Baucau 
accompanied by the FDTL commander, General Taur Matan Ruak. 
While in Baucau he also welcomed the newly-arrived contingent of 
Portuguese GNR (National Republican Guard), see paragraph ##. 
Today Ramos-Horta held meetings with the representatives of the 
four international military/police forces operating in East 
Timor and then proceeded to Ermera district to meet with leaders 
of dissident military and ex-military forces.  He reportedly 
wants to return to "day zero" and offer the dissidents the same 
dialogue option that was on the table prior to the outbreak of 
hostilities on May 23.  According to Special Representative of 
the UN Secretary General (SRSG) Sukehiro Hasegawa, who 
DILI 00000293  002.2 OF 005 
accompanied Ramos-Horta to Ermera, the new Defense Minister was 
warmly received by the dissidents as well as by the general 
population, and Lieutenant Gastao Salsinha, the leader of the 
595 ex-FDTL "petitioners", seemed favorably disposed to 
Ramos-Horta's suggestion of an all-inclusive dialogue in Dili 
next week. 
¶5. (SBU) In a meeting with US Defense Representatives last 
night, Ramos-Horta stated that the lines of authority for the 
military now clearly run from President Xanana Gusmao through 
him to General Matan Ruak.  Commenting on his visit to Baucau, 
he noted that he is satisfied with the conduct of the FDTL 
troops he reviewed in Baucau.  Regarding the international 
forces, Ramos-Horta expressed frustration with their inability 
thus far to stop the gang violence plaguing Dili.  He is happy 
to have the Portuguese GNR on the ground and expects that their 
more forceful approach will be effective in controlling gang 
FRETILIN Central Committee endorses Alkatiri, promotes Lobato 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
¶6. (SBU) A meeting of the ruling FRETILIN party's central 
committee (CCF) was held on June 4 in order to set up the 
revised party structure mandated by amendments to the party 
constitution at the May 17-19 congress.  Just-sacked Minister of 
the Interior Rogerio Lobato was elected unanimously as the 
party's new vice president.  This appears to be compensation for 
his forced resignation and clearly indicates that he will 
continue to play an important role in national politics.  Two 
Alkatiri loyalists, Jose Reis and Jose Manuel Guterres, were 
elected to fill two deputy secretary general positions.  In 
addition, the CCF determined the membership of several other 
party bodies, including the political, financial oversight, and 
judicial committees. 
¶7. (SBU) There was some speculation in the days before the CCF 
meeting that members of the party were trying to organize a CCF 
meeting to push for Alkatiri's resignation.  The meeting's 
conduct and outcome instead clearly demonstrated Alkatiri's 
continued dominance of the CCF.  During the meeting, CCF members 
made a formal statement for the record noting that there had 
been specious rumors that the party would pressure Alkatiri to 
resign but that the party's "position is clear" that changes can 
only be made "through the democratic process," presumably 
meaning that Alkatiri the committee wants Alkatiri to remain as 
Prime Minister at least through the 2007 election. 
Australia on post-UNOTIL planning 
¶8. (C/NF) In a conversation with Poloff, an Australian Embassy 
source relayed that Foreign Minister Downer yesterday presented 
a confidential GOA working paper on post-UNOTIL planning to 
Alkatiri, Gusmao, and Ramos-Horta.  A UN source has also 
discussed this GOA paper in confidence with members of the 
diplomatic corps including the U.S. Ambassador.  The main 
components of the paper are: 1) That Australia continue to run 
the military intervention, in cooperation with other 
international forces, outside of the UN structure but possibly 
with a mandate such as the one under which Interfet operated. 
2) That international forces should retain primary authority for 
policing in East Timor for some time to come --- either under 
the same non-UN umbrella as other security forces (in the 
Australian source's version of the paper) or as part of a 
post-UNOTIL UN mission (in the UNOTIL source's version of the 
paper).  3) That the UN mission should focus its activities on 
governance and reconciliation.  We anticipate obtaining a copy 
of the paper soon and will then relay additional information on 
its contents. 
Anti-Alkatiri demonstrations reportedly cancelled on President's 
--------------------------------------------- ---------------- 
DILI 00000293  003.2 OF 005 
¶9. (SBU) Rumors that a large anti-Alkatiri demonstration would 
today take place near the Palacio de Governo (main government 
offices) circulated throughout the weekend.  Emboffs received 
reports that Lt. Salsinha and the "petitioners" group, along 
with other dissident military, were behind the plans.  According 
to Salsinha, he cancelled the planned demonstration after 
receiving a call from President Gusmao requesting that he do so. 
 Ramos-Horta reportedly made the same appeal to other dissident 
military leaders during his trip to Ermera district today.  No 
demonstrators were seen at the Palacio throughout the day. 
However, SRSG Hasegawa conveyed reports that 120 people were 
seen en route from Maliana in four trucks, and Hasegawa said 
that Prime Minister Alkatiri told him that he anticipated an 
anti-Alkatiri demonstration consisting of "no more than 1000 
people."  (Comment: Hasegawa's and Alkatiri's information may or 
may not predate the President's request to cancel the proposed 
demonstration.  In the opinion of Embassy Dili, it would be 
extremely difficult for anyone to persuade thousands of people 
to come to Dili under the current circumstances, no matter how 
popular the cause.  End comment.) 
Parliament reconvenes to address crisis measures 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
¶10. (U) The National Parliament today reconvened to begin a 
two-day session to address the President's statement of crisis 
and to deliberate on whether to declare a formal state of 
emergency.  There were doubts late last week that many MPs would 
show up this morning, but 55 of the 88 members reportedly 
attended.  The members present unanimously endorsed the 
President's security plan that was endorsed by the Superior 
Council on Defense and Security during its meeting on Saturday, 
see paragraph 3.  Most leading opposition figures stayed away 
from the session; several told Emboffs that they had received 
threats on their lives and did not believe security at the 
Parliament was adequate to guarantee their safety. 
Portuguese National Republican Guard arrives 
¶11. (C) 120 members of Portugal's National Republican Guard 
(GNR), a paramilitary police unit, and 18 members of another 
special Portuguese police unit (the "Special Operations Group" 
or GOE) are now in Dili following their arrival in Baucau 
yesterday.  The GNR expects a second plane carrying their 
equipment to arrive shortly.  The GNR's arrival has been met 
with hope that they will be effective in curbing Dili's gang 
violence, but also with concern that their go-it-alone approach 
may create problems.  The Portuguese Embassy is adamant that the 
GNR and Portuguese police will not fall under the authority of 
the Australian force commander and that they will work directly 
for both President Gusmao and Prime Minister Alkatiri.  This, 
together with the pro-Alkatiri sympathies of most Portuguese 
diplomats and international advisors in Dili, has raised 
concerns that the GNR may be called upon by Alkatiri to 
undermine the President's recent assumed authority over secuirty 
and perhaps even to perform partisan head-cracking.  In 
addition, there has been some concern on the part of Australian 
troops that lack of coordination could result in friendly fire 
incidents.  However, Australian sources have also expressed 
optimism that the common sense of commanders on the ground will 
Security conditions in the city 
¶12. (C) The Australian forces are conducting sweep operations in 
their zone of Dili on 5 and 6 June to reduce gang activity. 
Though the general level of violence has decreased, there are 
still a few house burnings and gunshots each day and night, 
especially in the Becora neighborhood, in several neighborhoods 
south of Comoro road, and near the Comoro River.  Approximately 
once each two days the Joint Task Force (JTF) has found it 
DILI 00000293  004.2 OF 005 
necessary to deploy to the Comoro market area in order to break 
up gang fighting. 
Judiciary attempts to regroup 
¶13. (U) On Saturday, June 3, Court of Appeals Judge Claudio 
Ximenes presided at the swearing-in of 11 Timorese judges, 9 
prosecutors, and 7 defense attorneys.  These officers, most of 
whom served in the same capacities prior to November 2004 when 
they were removed from the bench and required to undergo a 
lengthy retraining process, will now serve as "probationary" 
judicial officers while undergoing further evaluation.  During 
the eighteen months the Timorese judges have been absent from 
the bench, the caseload formerly handled by 20 Timorese judges 
has been assigned to a much smaller number (ranging at various 
times from 2 to 5) of international judges, all from Portugal 
and other Lusophone countries.  Although Judge Ximenes (himself 
a Portuguese judge of Timorese extraction), Prime Minister 
Alkatiri, and some UN advisors have taken the position that the 
international judges have improved the quality and quantity of 
judicial decision making, the public perception is that the 
judicial system has slowed to a crawl and that most of the 
international judges have made no effort to understand the 
people whose cases they are deciding.  The return of the 
Timorese judges and other judicial officers is therefore 
generally regarded as a positive step toward increasing public 
confidence in the legal system, and the swearing-in was 
reportedly advanced by several weeks in order to deliver some 
good news during this difficult period.  Two judges (one 
Timorese and one international) have reported to Emboffs that 
there was extensive damage to judicial system files during the 
looting rampage in Dili last week.  Moreover, without an 
operational police force and with the continued absence of many 
government employees, the work of the judiciary has come to a 
virtual standstill.  However, in recent days members of the 
judiciary have attempted to revive its operation.  In addition 
to Saturday's swearing-in ceremony, a meeting of the Supreme 
Council of Magistrates was held late last week to begin 
discussions on running the judiciary under current 
SCU files recovered, damage assessment in progress 
¶14. (SBU) The UN advisor for the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU) files 
reported to Poloff that the UN has begun an assessment of the 
loss or damage to the original SCU files, which had been 
compromised when looters broke into the SCU storage facility 
last week.  The assessment will consist of a page-by-page 
comparison with the secured copies under UN custody and will 
take several weeks to complete. The advisor reported that there 
was no access to or damage of the servers containing the 
electronic SCU files during the looting.  The servers have now 
been moved to the UN compound for safekeeping until adequate 
security at the Prosecutor General's office has been restored. 
In a related development, Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro 
reports that he has secured the return of some or all of the 
stolen SCU files.  He was contacted by someone who claimed to 
know the looters and who said the looters had taken the files 
only after finding that the computers and other office equipment 
they had hoped to obtain had already been taken by others. 
Monteiro agreed to give the intermediary a refrigerator if he 
would return the missing files.  He called Ambassador this 
morning to report that the trade had been completed.  The 
returned files will be subjected to the page-by-page scrutiny of 
the UN experts to determine whether they are in fact SCU files 
and whether they are the only ones that were stolen. 
Internally displaced persons 
¶15. (U) The situation in the Internally displaced persons (IDP) 
camps remains unchanged.  Various estimates place the number of 
DILI 00000293  005.2 OF 005 
IDPs in Dili as high as 65,000, with an estimated additional 
35,000 Dili residents having fled to the countryside.  USAID 
through partner organizations CARE and Catholic Relief Services 
(CRS) is providing about $500,000 worth of relief supplies to 
the IDPs.  An airlift of additional supplies from AID's office 
of disaster assistance (OFDA) will arrive early tomorrow 
morning, June 6.  Embassy Dili and the USAID mission in East 
Timor have also requested a $1 million replensihment of Food For 
Peace (FFP) stocks to replenish local World Food Program 
supplies.  Additional support is under consideration, both for 
emergency relief and for medium-to-long-term needs. 
American citizens and Embassy security 
¶16. (SBU) The Embassy is in contact with the 57 private American 
citizens remaining in East Timor.  The Embassy continues to 
operate with 12 American employees, 29 Marines, and six Mobile 
Security Division (MSD) members.  The USAID compound is open for 
business during regular working hours.  Absenteeism in the local 
guard force is not higher than five percent per shift.  Several 
other local staff at the Embassy and USAID are not reporting for 
duty due to conditions in the city.