24 April 2010

PM Gusmao: Zacarias’ SMS was intimidating, inadmissible, and unacceptable

Diario Nacional April 15, 2010 language source: Tetun - Prime Minister Kayrala Xanana Gusmão has said that the message from Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Zacarias Albano da Costa was too emotional, immature, intimidating, inadmissible, and unacceptable.

Gusmão made the statement during a meeting of Council of Ministers Wednesday in which for the first time Gusmão and Da Costa were face to face in defending their arguments surrounding Da Costa’s message.

However, Minister Da Costa said that the cause of his message was that there was a decision by the Council of Ministers to call Timorese ambassadors outside to attend the event of Timor-Leste’s Development Partners’ Meeting and Dili International Dialogue of fragile states, which was done without his consent and even overruled his own decision.

According to Minister Da Costa, it was a by-pass of his competence as the Minister Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, which directly deal with Timorese diplomats outside around the issue of international diplomacy.

To this argument, Prime Minister said that what Minister Da Costa trying to do was to wash his own hands by blaming others for his own mistakes.

“You made mistake but in the end you said others did it; you made mistakes,” said Gusmão.

Xanana added that by not allowing ambassadors to come to Timor-Leste, Minister Da Costa was boycotting the state in the event of the International Dialogue.

However, Minister Da Costa said that the invitation of ambassadors to come home was only through an order from Prime Minister to Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vicky Tchong, which Da Costa considered as bypassing his competence.

According to Xanana, he ordered Vicky Tchong to do because in a previous message Minister Da Costa said that he was on medical check up in Singapore.

Minister Da Costa also concerned about the involvement of the Secretary of State for Council of Minister Hermengildo ‘Agio’ Pereira who asked him to tender his resignation.

“I talked with my colleagues who are ministers that there was not decision at the Council of Ministers (to ask my resignation) and I think it should not be decided by the Council of Ministers as it is a competence of the Prime Minister,” adding that there was no clear job description between Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Council of Ministers.

Minister Da Costa asked the responsibility of Prime Minister in relation to a situation which he described as ‘intolerable’ when the Prime Minister was silent but allowed others to make statement on his behalf to make the situation murkier.

Minister Da Costa said that there should be clear distinguishable tasks between Prime Minister and Agio Pereira.

Minister Da Costa said that there were irresponsible sources within the office of Prime Minister who blew up the issue in the media, including not letting him into the Palace of the Government.

The Dili International Dialogue itself was organized by Ministry of Finance and Minister Da Costa failed to attend all the sessions due to the polemics.

In the meeting which was open to public, Minister Da Costa did not make any apology to Prime Minister Gusmão.

PM Gusmão said that political disagreement will never benefit the people in general and therefore he will lead the coalition until 2012.

He let Minister Da Costa to resume his works as usual.
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