Ramos-Horta sworn in as East Timor's new PM | india | Hindustan Times
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Ramos-Horta sworn in as East Timor's new PM

The president's office, where the ceremony was held, was guarded by around 50 of the more than 2,200 Australian-led foreign peacekeepers.

india Updated: Jul 10, 2006 08:54 IST

Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta was sworn in on Monday as East Timor's new prime minister, in a move which raises hopes of an end to weeks of uncertainty and violence in the young nation.

Ramos-Horta placed his hand on a copy of the country's constitution as he took a brief oath to serve East Timor's people, witnessed by President Xanana Gusmao, who appointed him to the position on Saturday.

The new prime minister's deputies, Agriculture Minister Estanislau da Silva and Health Minister Rui Araujo, attended the event along with senior Catholic bishops and foreign diplomats.

The president's office, where the ceremony was held, was guarded by around 50 of the more than 2,200 Australian-led foreign peacekeepers sent here to restore calm after East Timor descended into violence in May.

At least 21 people were killed and some 150,000 people fled their homes amid battles between rival factions of the military and police as well as ethnic gangs, who roamed the streets armed with swords and axes.

Mari Alkatiri resigned as premier last month to take responsibility for the mayhem. He also faces questioning over allegations he armed a civilian hit squad tasked with eliminating his opponents.

Alkatiri sacked about 600 members of the 1,400-strong army in March after they protested against discrimination, triggering the crisis.

May's violence was the worst to hit the nation since it voted for independence from Jakarta in 1999 in a United Nations backed referendum.