Breakfast with the President

Breakfast with the President

I am staying in a guest room at the “Presidential compound” in Dili.

I have known José Ramos-Horta for more than ten years. When I first met him in 2000 I don’t think he even had a post. But he was a Nobel Peace Prize winner and an international human rights figure for what he had done for East Timor.

From there he became Foreign Minister of the new democracy. Then he was Prime Minister and now President. We have remained friends, working on projects off and on both for East Timor and international human rights issues.

The last time I was in Timor, or I should say close to Timor, was in 2008, after he had narrowly survived an assassination attempt. I visited him in a safe house in Darwin where he was recovering, and we wrote his first piece about it, for CNN.com.

So what do you talk about at the breakfast table with the President of an emerging democracy? Our love lives, of course.