Alkatiri out of negotiations regarding Timor Sea Dili, 09 December 2008 (Lusa) – Former Prime Minister and Secretary General of FRETILIN, Mari Alkatiri, "is definitely out" of the Timor Sea negotiations, announced the leadership of the party in Dili today.
The withdrawal of Mari Alkatiri was announced at a press conference bythe President of FRETILIN, Francisco Guterres "Lu Olo".
The decision by Mari Alkatiri and FRETILIN emerged following criticisms made a week ago in the National Parliament by the CNRT bench, explained Francisco Guterres Lu Olo.
The CNRT is lead by the current head of government, Xanana Gusmao, and is a part of the Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP), which has been in power since August of 2007.
"Enough of coups with two edged swords", stated Lu Olo. "Petroleum issues are now up to the CNRT and we want to see what the result of the negotiations will be", added the FRETILIN President.
The President of the Republic, Jose Ramos-Horta, announced on 21 November that Mari Alkatiri would be "managing and coordinating" the negotiations regarding the development of the Greater Sunrise field.
The announcement by the Head of State followed a "cordial" meeting for nearly two hours between Jose Ramos Horta, Xanana Gusmao and Mari Alkatiri.
"The three leaders shared opinions and positions relating to Greater Sunrise and valued the knowledge held by Mari Alkatiri regarding the Timor Sea", affirmed a release from the President of the Republic.
The announcement was in the meantime badly received by the CNRT bench, which considered the selection of Mari Alkatiri for the Timor Sea negotiations "an absurdity".
"The nomination of Mari Alkatiri for the Greater Sunrise project relate to economic issues that are not within the President of the Republic's powers", accused the CNRT bench in a formal statement to the parliament.
"The nomination in the name of the national interest merely promotes a friend of the President, Mari Alkatiri, to a strategic position involving the major receipts of the state" (sic), also accused
For the CNRT the "absurdity" is also nominating "a leader of the opposition which does not recognize the Government".
This fact was underscored today, anew, by Francisco Guterres "Lu Olo" himself. "There was never any agreement in exchange for the recognition of the Government by FRETILIN", explained the leader of the party. "Alkatiri accepted it on the condition of serving the country."
Image: Mari Alkatiri, Leader of Frente Revolucionario do Timor-Leste Independente (FRETLIN)