Ramos-Horta hints at retirement
East Timor president is preparing to return home after attempted assassination.
Last Modified: 08 Apr 2008 13:15 GMT
Ramos-Horta said he has been suffering vivid
dreams since the shooting [AFP]
The president of East Timor, who survived an attempted assassination nearly two months ago, has hinted that he may be thinking of retirement.

Jose Ramos-Horta, who was almost killed in a drive-by shooting by rebel soldiers outside his home in the capital, Dili, said he may not serve his full term in office, which is due to end in 2012.

"I'm more at ease because I know that if I step down, there is one or two who can do the job," Ramos-Horta, who was elected last year, told The Australian newspaper.


"I will address the parliament when I return and I will not promise the country that I will serve the full term."


The Nobel peace prize winner said he no longer needed to remain in office given the success of Fernando Lasama de Araujo, head of the national parliament, who has stood in since the attack.

"I will know only when I get home to my own house, to the site where I was shot, whether I have recovered"

Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timor president

But before deciding to step down, Ramos-Horta said he had responsibilities to key neighbours Indonesia and Australia because "they trust me".


"Before I take a step in resigning, I have to consider all of these implications; the people of East Timor, our neighbours."


Ramos-Horta, 58, was severely wounded in the raid led by rebel leader Alfredo Reinado, who was killed in the attack.


He is currently recovering in a safe house in the northern Australian city of Darwin following life-saving surgery.


Xanana Gusmao, East Timor's prime minister, escaped a simultaneous assassination attempt on February 11.


'Quieter life' 

Ramos-Horta has often expressed a wish for a quieter life to write his memoirs of East Timor's long struggle for independence from Indonesian rule.

He also said that he has yet to know how he is coping with the emotional trauma of coming close to dying in the ambush.


"I will know only when I get home to my own house, to the site where I was shot, whether I have recovered," he said.


"I am generally a very sensitive person, but I can also be cold and strong."


Last month the East Timor president was discharged from a Dawrin hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries, and hopes to return to Dili this month.

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