Timor violent? Try Melbourne: President Ramos-Horta]

Timor violent? Try Melbourne: President Ramos-Horta

(AFP) July 24, 2009

MELBOURNE ­ East Timor’s President Jose
Ramos-Horta on Friday urged Australians to ignore
the “bogus” travel warning against his country,
saying violence was also common in Melbourne.

Ramos-Horta took issue with Australia’s travel
advisory, which warns of gang violence, civil
unrest and robbery, and said tourists would enjoy
visiting the tiny, impoverished state.

“It is a very, very peaceful country with
fantastic people who will welcome you,” the Nobel
Peace Prize winner said during a visit for the
Melbourne International Film Festival.

“Don’t pay any attention to the bogus travel
advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs in
Canberra, always advising Australians not to go to East Timor,” he added.

“Having learned about the level of violence in
Melbourne and elsewhere, I will start issuing travel warnings for Australia.”

Dozens of people died when rioting erupted in
Dili in 2006, prompting the UN to send in police
backed by Australian and New Zealand troops.

Canberra’s travel advice warns the situation
remains unstable, stating: “Violence could occur
anywhere at any time in East Timor.”

Ramos-Horta dismissed the warnings and pointed to
Australia’s own problems with violence, including
a wave of attacks on Indian students and a hit on
a notorious gangland figure in Melbourne last month.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

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