President Xanana Gusmao, the most popular man in East Tinor and probably the one who can solve the nation’s current civil war, has attended a crisis meeting of East Timor's Council of State. The Council has the power and is likely to sack the government of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. Alkatiri is detested by many East Timorese and has been the cause of dispute with about 600 troops, which has led to the current state of chaos.
The meeting is also attended by Prime Minister Alkatiri, Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta and the influential Catholic Bishop of Dili, Dom Ricardo. Also in attendance was the UN Secretary General's personal envoy, Ian Martin, who recently arrived from Nepal.
During a break President Gusmao addressed the angry crowd of several hundred protesters who had gathered outside to support him and demand the sacking of Prime Minister Alkatiri.
He appealed for calm between rival ethnic gangs and told the demonstrators to go home and trust the meeting to solve the problems, even if it had to meet throughout the night and again tomorrow.
Dr Ramos Horta suggested that it was most likely Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri would have to go.
He said bluntly that given so many people wanted Prime Minister Alkatiri to step down, it would look that way. "Whether Prime Minister Alkatiri can gain confidence and effectiveness in restoring his own personal authority, well that remains to be seen, we will see in the next few hours or days."