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Obama Statement on the Attempted Assassination of Jose Ramos-Horta

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Obama Statement on the Attempted Assassination of Jose Ramos-Horta

Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timor's President and Nobel Laureate, was shot and severely wounded today in Dili, East Timor in an attempted assassination and coup. I send my thoughts and prayers to Ramos-Horta, his family, and the people of East Timor, and I commend the Australian soldiers and medical personnel who cared for the wounded president in Dili and then rushed him to Darwin, where he is receiving critical care. I am grateful, too, to Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who has announced he will dispatch additional police and soldiers to East Timor in order to round up the militiamen responsible for the savage attack.

Jose Ramos-Horta has been East Timor's loudest and most indefatigable voice for independence and human rights. During the bloody crackdown of 1999, he helped mobilize the deployment of the Australian-led Multi-National Force, which stabilized the country and paved the way for East Timor's independence in 2002. The last five years have been trying ones for the people of East Timor, where economic and political struggles persist. But I urge them to maintain the resiliency and remarkable courage they are known for -- qualities embodied in the heroic journey of Jose Ramos-Horta.

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