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Ramos-Horta returns home to hero's welcome -

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LISA MILLAR: East Timor's president Jose Ramos-Horta has returned to a rousing homecoming after a
lengthy recuperation in a Darwin hospital from an assassination attempt two months ago.

(Music and sounds of celebrations)

Those are some of the sounds of the thousands of supporters who gathered at Dili's airport this
morning to chant and sing in celebration at the return of their leader.

President Ramos-Horta had been seriously injured in the attack when he was shot twice. He was
airlifted to Darwin, and recovered so well he surprised his doctors.

And his return to East Timor is an important moment for the troubled nation.

Our reporter Anne Barker was at the homecoming and joins us on the line from Dili.

Anne, tell me, the crowd sounded effusive, how emotional was it?

ANNE BARKER: It was very emotional, Lisa, it really did bring tears to the eyes. I didn't expect
the crowd that we saw. It was almost pandemonium at Dili airport. There were thousands of people
sort of blocking the road as the President came out.

I expected him to stay in his car and just drive through, but in fact he braved the crowd, he
walked through and he met people in person before getting back in the car and making the 15km
journey to his home.

He did give a press conference before he left the airport building, and he spoke at length about
the events on February the 11th, when he was attacked. He spoke about the rebel group that were
behind it, including Alfredo Reinado, who was shot dead. He appealed to the rebels to surrender,
including Gastao Salsinha. And here's some of what he had to say.

JOSE RAMOS HORTA: Sorry for being a bit emotional. Too many Timorese have lost their lives, even
the president himself.

But Mr Salsinha has to surrender to justice. If, before February 11 there were no arrest warrant on
him, today there is. He was accomplice in the attack on the President and the Prime Minister. Is he
guilty? Is he innocent? The court will decide.

He has to surrender to justice. He has said he's been waiting for my return, then he'll surrender.
I prefer that he go and see the parisher, the priest in Gleno, or wherever he's closest to.

LISA MILLAR: Well we're going to hear from East Timor's Prosecutor-General about that investigation
in a moment, but Anne, tell me, how did the President look? I mean, it's been two months since he
was shot. How did he appear to you?

ANNE BARKER: He looked surprisingly well. He has clearly lost weight since the shooting. I noticed
that in Darwin. I think you could say he's probably put some of it back on, but he's still a lot
thinner than what he was.

But he was definitely quite rosy, he was a lot stronger than I've seen him in recent weeks. The
fact that he was willing to walk among the crowd... he still needs some medical treatment in the next
few weeks for pain relief, for physiotherapy and so on, but I think people were surprised to see
him so well, considering that he was shot in the lung just two months ago.

LISA MILLAR: Anne, what has all of this done to Dili's stability?

ANNE BARKER: Well, look, if anything, Dili has been a quieter place in the last two months. Partly
because there's a curfew that was introduced immediately after the shootings. People can't go out
now between ten at night and six in the morning. That has helped to keep some of the street
violence down to a minimum.

There were some extra troops that came in, Australia sent in straight after the shooting, and
they're still here. There's a very, very strong security presence out there today.

About half of the rebels have surrendered, but most of them are still out in hiding somewhere
outside of Dili, but they're not creating any trouble at the moment. So I think some of the forces
for instability in East Timor in recent times have been minimised in the last couple of months, and
I think people are seriously hoping that that will remain the case.

LISA MILLAR: Anne Barker in Dili, thanks very much.