Minister of Foreign Affairs Zacarias da Costa Abandons His Seat at the Dili International Dialogue
On the morning of 8 April 2010 the Dili International Dialogue for Peace and Statebuilding was convened. The G7 States of which only 5 attended and fragile states. Most of Timorese Ministers, Vice Ministers, Secretary of States and Ambassadors attended the meeting.
However, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zacarias da Costa was notably absent.
In today's Dili daily newspapers the reports that the Minister of Foreign Affairs sent a resignation notice by SMS to the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmao, is further causing a divide between the Prime Minister and his chief international envoy Zacarias da Costa.
The Timor Post newspaper headline was “Xanana “Ban” Zacarias Enter Government Palace,”.
The Suara Timor Lorosae reportedly stated “Reject to Resign, Prime Minister Office Ready to release MNEC Zacarias SMS".
The Diario Nacional second headline title is, “Foreign Minister is not loyal to PM Xanana.”
At the Dili International Dialogue he seat between Vice PM Mario Carrascalao and the Minister of Justice Lucia Lobato was empty. On the table there was a label which
indicate the of name DR. Zacarias Albano da Costa but he was absent from his post.
“As a Foreign Minister he is supposed to be present because there a lot of foreign dignitaries and this conference is the first international event of its type organised by Timor-Leste but I dont want to comment further“, said an East Timorese ambassador who came to TL for the conference.
The dispute between the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister is caused by the presence of East Timor Ambassadors at the conference. Previously Foreign Minister Zacarias da Costa gave orders to Timorese Ambassadors not to come for the donor meeting. This order was countermanded by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao who called the Ambassadors to Dili regardless.
This fueled the anger of Foreign Minister Zacarias A. Da Costa and he sent an SMS to the Prime Minister informing of his intention to resign from his post.
Meanwhile at the Dili International Dialogue Minister of Finance Emilia Pires, urged the donors to allow the so called international advisers or consultant in the carrying out their duties to be integrated with the local government system. “You pay them but give them to me,” said Emilia.
The international advisers are attached to the local system to transfer their knowledge to the locals but in terms of Timor-Leste experience in the last decade much of tax payer money has been wasted to pay high salary for those international consultancy which left Timor Leste for many years to come in need of importing foreign consultants.
Emilia said many international adviser don’t have capacity to assist Timorese to draft any policy. “There are many cases to be use as an example,” said Emilia. In the resume the international community recognised that, “ we are not doing enough.” The participant in the Dili Dialogue paticipated by 45 state including fragile states such as Siera Leone, Nepal, Sudan, Burundi and two other state fragiles like Afganistan and Haiti were not present.