East Timor leader to mediate in African coup

Jose Ramos-Horta conceded defeat after the March election. Now he's set to negotiate in an African coup.[Getty Images]
PHOTO

Jose Ramos-Horta conceded defeat after the March election. Now he's set to negotiate in an African coup.[Getty Images]

Last Updated: Tue, 17 Apr 2012 00:28:00 +1000

East Timor's outgoing President Jose Ramos-Horta has had an offer accepted to mediate in a West African coup, an adviser says.

But Guinea-Bissau's military has closed its air and sea space after a Portuguese-language bloc called for UN intervention.

There were also reports that a Portuguese warship was on its way to evacuate Portuguese and foreign nationals.

The armed forces said all violations will be met with a "military response".

Guinea-Bissau and East Timor are both former Portuguese colonies.

Accepted


Soldiers in the coup-ridden country toppled the interim government last Thursday night over alleged plans to reduce the size of the army.

Ramos-Horta, a Nobel Prize winner, lost his bid for a second five-year term as East Timor's president in a first round of voting in an election on March 17.

He offered to mediate in Guinea-Bissau two days ago, "and the junta replied and accepted this morning," Jose Meirelles, the president's senior adviser, told AFP.

"All that remains to be settled is the date he leaves, and the only condition is that nothing bad happens to anyone."

Last week's military coup in Guinea-Bissau has been internationally condemned.

The new junta has said it is holding several people, including Prime Minister Carlos Gomes junior.

No president has completed a term since independence from Portugal in 1974.

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