DILI - TIMOR Leste's government is planning to end talks with a senior fugitive rebel wanted in connection with attacks last month that nearly killed President Jose Ramos-Horta, the prime minister said on Monday.
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao told reporters that security forces were pursuing Gastao Salsinha - the rebel most wanted in the attacks - and hoped he would come down from hiding 'today (Monday) or tomorrow'.
'These operations will continue, to narrow his space, to show that there is no more dialogue or any other way out... What the government is saying now (to Salsinha) is that it is now up to you. You choose,' he said.
Mr Ramos-Horta is recovering in a hospital in northern Australia after he was shot in the Feb 11 attacks at his home. Gusmao's convoy was ambushed, but he survived unscathed.
Rebel leader Alfredo Reinado and one other rebel were shot dead at Mr Ramos-Horta's home.
Salsinha, a former officer who led a mass military desertion in 2006, is said to have been his right-hand man.
Efforts to bring Salsinha from hiding have so far failed to bear fruit. Mr Gusmao said last week that Salsinha was to have presented himself in Dili last Friday.
Mr Gusmao said he discussed the government's latest move with Mr Ramos-Horta on a brief trip to the Australian city of Darwin, where the president is undergoing treatment.
Authorities have issued 23 arrest warrants for renegade soldiers accused of taking part in the February attacks. Armed Forces Commander Taur Matan Ruak has said Salsinha and many of his men were hiding in a district southeast of Dili.
Timor Leste's military and police, with help from an Australian-led international stabilisation force, have been pursuing the rebels. Eight renegades have surrendered so far.
International forces were sent to Timor Leste after friction in 2006 between military and police factions following the military desertion led to an increase in street violence that left 37 people dead.