Page last updated at 09:54 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 10:54 UK

E Timor president ponders UN job

Jose Ramos-Horta in Dili, East Timor - 20/4/2008
Jose Ramos-Horta is concerned about the effect of his resignation

East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta says he is considering the top UN human rights post but is worried how his resignation would affect the country.

The Nobel Peace Prize laureate suggested he would decide whether to put his name forward within 24 hours.

Mr Ramos-Horta said he feared snap elections could destabilise the fragile peace built over the past few months.

The president, whose term runs to 2012, narrowly survived an assassination attempt in February.


The BBC's Lucy Williamson, in Dili, says Mr Ramos-Horta's departure could mean big changes in the country's politics, with snap elections likely within 90 days.

Speaking to journalists after a meeting with the prime minister, Mr Ramos-Horta said he would only go for a job if he was 100% certain of getting it.

At the moment, he is not even a candidate for the post of human rights commissioner, but he said he already had the support of a number of countries, including the United States, Australia and Portugal.

Our correspondent says Mr Ramos-Horta has been delaying an announcement for some time now and appears no closer to a decision.

He told journalists: "On the one hand yes, it's time to move on and to accept the challenge of being UN High Commissioner of Human Rights.

"At the same time, I love my country, I love the people who elected me."

East Timor has been plagued by violence and instability since it won independence from Indonesia six years ago.

Mr Ramos-Horta was seriously injured in an attack by rebel troops in February.

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