The president of East Timor says he is going to stay on in his job. In a speech to cheering supporters in the capital Dili, Xanana Gusmao retracted the offer to resign that he made yesterday. He promised his people that he would always serve them. “The leaders must see and hear the problem of the people. Whenever you need us,you must continue to talk to us and remind us,” Gusmao said.
Gusmao had said he would resign if the East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri refused to accept responsibility for recent violence in the country. Diplomatic sources in Dili say they expect Alkatiri to step down this weekend. The prime minister has repeatedly rejected accusations that he had any influence over the rioting and looting. The unrest began when Alkatiri sacked over a third of the army for mutiny when they demonstrated against alleged discrimination. A 2,500-strong Australian-led peacekeeping force has restored calm.