UPDATE: Jose Ramos Horta recovering, but still in intensive care

…And the UN Security Council extended the mandate, on Monday, of the UN Integrated Mission in East Timor (UNMIT) for another full year, as UNMIT announced in Dili the surrender of one a wanted fugitive, apparently “a follower of Alfredo Reinado, the opposition leader who was killed during the attack on President Jose Ramos-Horta” The fugitive, who was not named, “had also been the target of investigations by the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste, which was set up to investigate the deadly incidents of April-May 2006”, according to a report by UN News Centre [which uses British English spellings], published here.

Jose Ramos Horta was brought out of a 10-day induced coma over the weekend, but he is still in intensive care at the Royal Darwin Hospital in Australia, where he may stay for several more months of medical treatement.

In the resolution adopted Monday, the UNSC again condemned “in the strongest possible terms the attacks on the President and Prime-Minister of Timor-Leste on 11 February 2008 and all attempts to destabilize the country, noting that these heinous acts represent an attack on the legitimate institutions of Timor-Leste, and welcomes the swift and constructive reaction by the neighbouring countries”. And it called “on the Government of Timor-Leste to bring to justice those responsible for this heinous act”…

The AP reported that “The attacks [against Jose Ramos Horta, and against Xanana Gusmao, who was not injured] were apparently a sudden escalation in a bitter dispute between the government and several hundred ex-soldiers who were fired in 2006 after going on strike to protest alleged discrimination”. According to AP, the UN “still has 33 military observers and about 1,500 international police and 1,200 civilians in the country”, while Australia has reinforced its military presence there by 1,000 armed forces and a warship stationed off the coast. This AP report can be found here.

The 2006 violence apparently arose from tensions between Timorese from the eastern and western parts of the territory, and between two sectors of the security forces — the army and the police.

Monday’s UN SC resolution “Requests UNMIT, working with partners, to intensify its efforts to assist with further training, mentoring, institutional development and strengthening of PNTL [the National Police of East Timor] …while continuing to ensure, through the presence of UNMIT police component, the restoration and maintenance of public security in Timor-Leste through the provision of support to PNTL, which includes interim law enforcement and public security until PNTL is reconstituted”

And, it “Welcomes the Secretary-General’s intention to send an expert mission to UNMIT in the first quarter of 2008 to conduct a thorough assessment of the requirements of the national police as well as possible adjustments needed to UNMIT police skill sets; and requests him to inform the Council of the finding of the expert mission”.

This UNSC resolution is reproduced here.

Meanwhile, a few days ago, AFP reported that “Hospital general manager Dr Len Notaras told AFP the president was aware that he had been shot but was probably unsure about details of the attack after being unconscious for so long. ‘He certainly knows he was shot and that it was a very traumatic event. As to who did it and the rest of it, I’m not too sure about that and I would say that given the trauma there’s probably a degree of confusion’, he said. The president had responded well to five operations to repair the damage caused by bullet wounds to the back and chest, including significant reconstruction work, Notaras said … Notaras said he expected Ramos-Horta to remain in intensive care for perhaps another week before the leader was in good enough condition to be moved to a more general area of the hospital. Asked for a timeline for the president’s recovery and ability to return to East Timor and to work, the doctor said he expected him to be up and moving ‘and possibly able to make decisions’ in the next few weeks. ‘But in terms of being able to be fully active and moving around with the punishing lifestyle of a president, I expect he will need more convalescence before he gets to that particular state’, Notaras said. The type of injuries Ramos-Horta suffered could take from six to eight weeks to heal in a basic sense, and up to six months overall, Notaras said. ‘He has missed the last ten days of his life. Once he has the ability to reorient himself he will be able to be a lot clearer in his thoughts’, he said. ‘But we need to keep him in a relaxed and stress-free environment so he can let his body heal’.” This AP report is posted here.

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