José Ramos-Horta

Ramos-Horta, José, 1949–, East Timorese independence advocate and political leader; co-recipient, with Carlos Belo, of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize. After engaging in anti-Portuguese activities, he went into exile (1970–72) in Mozambique. After returning home, he joined (1974) the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) and in 1975 was foreign minister during East Timor's nine days of independence. When Indonesia invaded, Ramos-Horta returned to a life of exile and became the leading international spokesman for an independent East Timor. From 1975 to 1999 he acted as FRETILIN's representative to the United Nations. After studying law in several countries, he settled (1989) in Sydney, Australia, where he taught law at the Univ. of New South Wales and directed its diplomacy training program. A decade later, when a proindependence vote in a UN-supervised referendum in East Timor led to ferocious attacks by pro-Indonesian militias, he played a key role in securing UN peacekeeping forces and a UN-monitored transition government, in which he was appointed (2000) foreign minister and (2001) president of the legislature. Ramos-Horta became East Timor's prime minister in 2006 after an outbreak of civil strife; he was elected president in 2007. In 2008 he was seriously wounded in an apparent assassination attempt. He lost his reelection bid in 2012. He became UN special envoy to Guinea-Bissau in 2013.

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