10 April 2010

Prime Minister Gusmao: “Minister Zacarias banned from entering Government Palace”

*Timor Post, April 9, 2010 language source: Tetun - A staff member from the office of the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao said on Thursday that Prime Minister Gusmao is furious with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Zacarias Albano da Costa and therefore he had instructed security guards in the Government Palace not to allow Minister Da Costa enter it.

“PM Gusmao was angry with Minister da Costa and he commanded security guards not to let him enter the Government Palace,” the source said.

The unnamed source also confirmed that Minister Da Costa indeed sent an SMS to PM Gusmao, which he later denied, and that the office of Prime Minister is ready to publish the SMS.

“It is true that Minister Zacarias Albano da Costa sent a short message service to PM Gusmao’s advisor threatening to resign from his post,” said the unnamed source.

The source said that Minister da Costa threatened to resign from his post due to his dissatisfaction with the PM Gusmao’s invitation to Timorese ambassadors to participate in the Dili International Dialog (DID) which was made without his approval.

The source added that PM Gusmao has called on the Minister da Costa to apologise to PM Gusmao and that if Da Costa failed to do so then he would not be allowed to enter the Palace.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Zacarias Albano da Costa denied that he sent any message to PM Gusmao, but he received an SMS from an adviser to the State Secretary for the Council of Ministers Hemenegildo Pereira in which he was asked to resign from his post.

“As a minister I have the right to talk with PM whether through an SMS or email and I was disappointed with the SMS that I received in which I was instructed to resign from this post,” Da Costa said.

According to Antoninho Bianco from Fretilin, the unity within the Parliamentary Majority Alliance (AMP) is now shaken as the ministers and state secretaries had descended upon each another.

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