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Ban Ki-moon Condemns Shooting Of Timor President

Ban Ki-moon Condemns Shooting Of Timorese President, Urges Calm

11 February 2008 - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly condemned Sunday's attack on Jose Ramos-Horta, the President of Timor-Leste who was shot and wounded at his home, calling on the country's people to remain calm.

The convoy of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao was also attacked, according to a statement released by Mr. Ban's spokesperson in New York. No one was killed in the attack on the motorcade, the UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) reported.

One of the two confirmed dead was fugitive Alfredo Reinado, according to the mission.

The President underwent surgery before being medivaced to Australia. He was described as being in "stable but serious" condition.

"The Secretary-General condemns in the strongest possible terms these unacceptable attacks on the legitimate institutions of the state and calls on the Timorese people to remain calm and refrain from all violent acts," the spokesperson said.

At a press briefing in Dili, Acting Special Representative Finn Reske-Nielsen strongly deplored the violence.

United Nations Police are on a high state of alert and is coordinating with the International Security Forces (ISF) and the Timorese authorities.

Mr. Ban's Special Representative, Atul Khare, was in the United States at the time of the attack but immediately headed back to back to Dili.

Mr. Reske-Nielsen joined the Secretary-General in urging the people of Timor-Leste to remain calm. "We are also appealing to all of them to ensure a peaceful resolution to any disagreement," he said.

The fugitive Reinado was the target of investigations by the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste, set up to look into the deadly violence that erupted in May and April 2006.

It found that Maj. Reinado and his group were reasonably suspected of committing crimes against life and person during the fighting.

The crisis, attributed to differences between eastern and western regions, erupted in late April with the firing of 600 striking soldiers, a third of the armed forces. Ensuing violence claimed at least 37 lives and drove 155,000 people, 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes.

Last year, Timorese President Xanana Gusmao asked for an ISF operation against Maj. Reinado after he ransacked several border police posts, stealing weapons and other equipment.

The Security Council created UNMIT in August 2006 to help restore order after the violence.

ENDS

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