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Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 10:21 GMT 11:21 UK
Nobel winner is new East Timor PM
Jose Ramos-Horta

Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta has been named as East Timor's new prime minister, President Xanana Gusmao has announced.

The appointment follows months of violence and political instability.

The ex-prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, resigned last month after criticism of his handling of a wave of violence which left 21 people dead.

Mr Ramos-Horta was Mr Alkatiri's foreign minister but quit after falling out with the former premier.

The new government's first job will be "restoring peace and stability," President Gusmao said.

The unrest, sparked by Mr Alkatiri's decision to sack 600 soldiers, prompted the government to call for international assistance to restore order.

'Unifying candidate'

Correspondents say Mr Ramos-Horta is a potential unifying candidate for the young nation, which became independent from Indonesia in 2002.

He won a Nobel Peace Prize after conducting a long campaign for East Timorese independence while living in exile in Australia.

Mr Ramos-Horta is expected to hold office until elections in 2007.

Among the other candidates for the premiership were Fretilin lawmakers Stanislau da Silva and Rui Maria Araujo. They were appointed first deputy prime minister and second deputy prime minister respectively, Mr Gusmao announced.

"The programs of this new government will focus on solving this crisis so that the people can return home and the situation can be normalised," the president said.

About 150,000 people were forced from their homes by the recent violence.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
East Timor's president makes the announcement





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