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Cablegate: The Ramos-Horta Road Show -- Bringing the State to The

VZCZCXRO0968
PP RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHHM
DE RUEHDT #0006/01 0140714
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140714Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY DILI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3807
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1012
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON PRIORITY 0998
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA PRIORITY 1105
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON PRIORITY 0892
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDT/AMEMBASSY DILI 3221

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DILI 000006

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MTS
PACOM FOR POLADS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV MARR MASS ID TT
SUBJECT: THE RAMOS-HORTA ROAD SHOW -- BRINGING THE STATE TO THE
PEOPLE

DILI 00000006 001.2 OF 003


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Summary

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1. (U) On January 7 - 9, PolOff accompanied President Jose
Ramos-Horta on a government goodwill mission to two remote
eastern towns to build support for his Anti-Poverty Task Force
and outline the government's top priorities for 2008:
resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), reaching a
settlement with dissident members of the Armed Forces (F-FDTL),
and reining in military renegade Major Alfredo Reinado.
Ramos-Horta was warmly received in Baguia, a former resistance
stronghold, but enjoyed only a lukewarm greeting in Quelicai.
Ramos-Horta promised infrastructure and service improvements,
held marathon-length community dialogues, and provided sports
equipment to the towns. Beyond from his goodwill outreach,
Ramos-Horta is traveling to districts to regain legitimacy
eroded during the 2006 crisis and build support for the
government's efforts to address security concerns. Reasserting
himself as the national mediator, Ramos-Horta is appealing to
shared Timorese identity to overcome persisting ethnic and
political divisions. At a stop at a former Indonesian Air Force
base, Ramos-Horta told PolOff that while there should be
accountability for Indonesian human rights violations during the
occupation, the U.S. should immediately normalize military ties
to Indonesia. End Summary.

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Thirty-Plus SUV Convoy into the Mountains

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2. (U) Escorted by Timorese and UN police, President Jose
Ramos-Horta led a 30-vehicle strong SUV convoy on January 7-9 to
eastern Baucau district, accompanied by the Minister of Health,
a State Secretary from the Ministry of Education, the Commander
of the F-FDTL, three parliamentarians, local officials,
advisors, diplomats, and his son Loro. After a five-hour plus
journey, the Presidential entourage finally arrived in Baguia, a
resistance stronghold during the Indonesian occupation.
Although the applause was at times prompted by a Presidential
aide, Baguia residents received Ramos-Horta warmly. Commander
of the Defense Forces Taur Matan Ruak, who spent several years
in the mountains surrounding Baguia during the resistance,
recalled that over 140,000 Timorese sought refuge in the nearby
mountains.

---------------------------------

Ask and You Shall Receive

--------------------------------

3. (U) President Ramos-Horta engaged in multiple,
marathon-length dialogues, including a centerpiece three-hour
community-wide dialogue with 1,500 - 2,000 residents. After
listening to requests from village heads, Ramos-Horta delivered
a one-hour response in which he underscored the government's
2008 priorities and he promised resources for public services,
including. health clinics and schools.. Ramos-Horta
highlighted his Anti-Poverty Task Force, designed to implement
"quick-fix" projects. He promised 100 tables and chairs for the
local school within a month. In response to a petition
presented by a community member, Ramos-Horta made an immediate
commitment of $10,000 for health clinic improvements.

4. (U) Ramos-Horta also presented his political and security
agenda. He spelled out his top priorities: re-integrating
persons displaced by last year's crisis; reaching a settlement
with a disgruntled faction of the armed forces known as "the
petitioners;" and reining in the fugitive former head of the
military police, Maj. Alfredo Reinado. Refuting a charge by the
opposition FRETILIN party, Ramos-Horta explained the
constitutional basis for forming the current governing coalition
formation, and he repeatedly called for national reconciliation
through dialogue. Responding to a hostile question, Ramos-Horta
described Alfredo as an "individual victim" of the 2006 crisis,
adding, "we are all victims of the 2006 crisis." In side
comments to PolOff later, Ramos-Horta said that Reinado would

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likely need a form of amnesty, but this would be addressed only
after resolution of the petitioners' issue. Ramos-Horta added
that he regarded the Alfredo case as easier to solve than that
of the petitioners.

5. (U) In a town where houses were burned during the 2006
crisis, Ramos-Horta underscored the importance of addressing
national-level security concerns immediately. After the
community dialogue, Ramos gave sports equipment to the
community, tossed up the opening ball in a volleyball match (in
which diplomats participated), and met with village heads for
three hours.

--------------------------------------------- -----------

Lukewarm Reception in FRETILIN Stronghold

--------------------------------------------- -----------

6. (SBU) After completing its program at Baguia, the party
continued to Quelicai. Presidential advisors confided that
security conditions in Quelicai were more uncertain than Baguia,
and that they had considered canceling the stop, as they had a
proposed visit to Viqueque a few weeks ago. With an additional
12-15 UN police in riot gear, Ramos-Horta was greeted by over
1,000 community members. While not overtly hostile, the crowd
was noticeably less welcoming and smaller than in Baguia, even
though Quelicai is twice as large. Loro Ramos-Horta, the
President's son and informal advisor, contrasted this lukewarm
reception with the hero's welcome that Ramos-Horta and Gusmao
received there in 2002 and 2003. The President enjoys these
district trips, Loro said, but also uses them to reassert his
legitimacy in the wake of the 2006 crisis and establish himself
as a national leader after his many years abroad.

7. (U) At the town hall dialogue, village heads raised
community-level concerns such as roads, electricity, health, and
water. They also raised national-level issues, including
reparations for victims of violence in the 2006 crisis, the
Reinado case; and the constitutionality of governing coalition.
After sporting events and small group question and answer
sessions, Ramos-Horta met with village heads (about 99 percent
male) for three hours. Ramos-Horta stayed on message:
highlighting the Anti-Poverty Task Force and calling for
reconciliation as a principle to addressing security and
political grievances. Ramos-Horta made considerably fewer
promises for development projects in Quelicai than in Baguia.

8. (SBU) FRETILIN's influence in Quelicai was apparent. Echoing
a FRETILIN grievance, a village head questioned the
constitutionality of the President's formation of the current
governing coalition. Ramos-Horta defended the constitutionality
of the governing coalition and called for cooperation with
FRETILIN, Ramos-Horta told the crowds that he has received
FRETILIN's agreement to work together to solve the government's
top three priorities of IDPs, petitioners, and Alfredo. A
village head questioned why the President brought F-FDTL leaders
on these district trips. Ramos-Horta portrayed F-FDTL's
participation as a show of unity between political and military
leaders, also drawing the comparison of American presidents
traveling with military leaders.

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-------------------------

Ramos-Horta Urges Normalization Of U.S. - Indonesian Military
Ties

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--------------------------

9. (SBU) On the way back to Dili, Ramos-Horta stopped at F-FDTL
Battalion I HQ near Baucau, a former Indonesian Air Force base
during the occupation. In a side conversation, Ramos-Horta
noted to PolOff that U.S.-manufactured aircraft had been based
there during the occupation. However, he went on to express
unequivocal support for a full normalization of the Indonesia -
U.S. mil-mil relationship, specifically encouraging us to extend
basic training, human rights training, arms sales - he made no
caveats or exceptions. Regarding human rights violations
committed in Timor-Leste by Indonesian security forces,
Ramos-Horta said, "For Timor, it is the past." When asked about

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cases where there was evidence of specific individuals involved
in specific human rights violations, Ramos-Horta responded,
"Well, if there is a direct connection, there should be
accountability." Ramos-Horta added that if the U.S. did not
sell weapons to Indonesia, someone else would. The President
said that he has conveyed this message to his friends in
Congress.

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The Church as "Nation-Builder". . .

-------------------------------------------

10. (U) The Catholic Church functioned as the physical and
symbolic center for the Baguia and Quelicai visits. At both
stops, Ramos-Horta was greeted by the missionary priests, who
would sit directly next to Ramos-Horta during community
dialogues. The churches were the most prominent community
buildings and both housed orphanages for 30-40 young children.
In Quelicai, the Portuguese priest had served there for 50 years
and just completed a $1 million building project.

11. (U) In conversation with PolOff, Ramos-Horta commented that
nation-building and state-building must occur simultaneously in
Timor-Leste. Since 90 to 95 percent of Timorese are Catholic,
the Church provides a unifying force for the Timor's sixteen
ethno-linguistic groups, according to Ramos-Horta. In divided
communities, the Catholic Church occupies a neutral role. As
the Filipino priest in Baguia said, "I knew these guys
(resistance leaders) when they were in the mountains during the
Indonesian occupation."

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. . . And The Government and Armed Forces as "State-Builder"

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----------------

12. (SBU) Ramos-Horta also stressed to PolOff that his visits
to the districts were meant to make the responsiveness of the
state a reality in these isolated areas. During community
dialogues, Ramos-Horta repeatedly referred to "el sentido del
estado," the sense of state. The Anti-Poverty Task Force
represents an immediate, quick-impact program for the government
to provide better public services to communities. Ramos-Horta
pledged to work on improving roads, education, health care,
electricity, water and sanitation, and other public services.
Ramos-Horta also vowed to address national-level political and
security issues - IDPs, petitioners, and Alfredo Reinado.
Visits to Battalion headquarters and the presence of F-FDTL in
the delegation highlighted the critical role Ramos-Horta places
on the armed forces within state-building. As he is attempting
to build personal legitimacy through these district visits,
Ramos-Horta is also trying to establish the legitimacy of the
government as well.

13. (U) This report was prepared by TDY Political Officer Scott
Kofmehl.
KLEMM

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