Australian PM Pledges Support for East Timor

Rudd visits capital, president wounded in attacks by rebel soldiers
By Erin Mendell,  Newser User
Posted Feb 15, 2008 6:53 PM CST

(Newser) – Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd jetted to East Timor today, vowing to stand by its neighbor after attacks Monday on its president and prime minister, Reuters reports. "It's by the ballot box, and not by the barrel of a gun, that the decisions for our countries will be made," said Rudd, who boosted Australian troop presence there after the assault.

Rudd held talks with counterpart Xanana Gusmao, who was not wounded in the attacks, before returning to Australia to visit President Jose Ramos-Horta in Darwin hospital, where he is recovering from gunshot wounds. The rebel leader was killed in the gunfight at the president’s home, and East Timor’s parliament has declared a state of emergency after the latest unrest.