|Subject: News from East Timor 1-3 Feb 2001
Saturday 3 February 2001
Thursday, 1 February 2001
Bahasa Indonesia headlines
In order to remember the deeds of Falintil, it is important to consider the resistance force as an elite group in the National Defense Force of East Timor. [eds: Today Falintil is officially dissolved and integrated into the East Timor Defense Force (FDTL)]
Aquelino Guterres, Vice-Secretary of [Falintil] Region 4, said this at the inauguration of the formation of FDTL. According to Aquelino, this change of Falintil to be part of FDTL was an important process in East Timor's road to full independence.
So what's wrong if Falintil's name is changed to FDTL? he asked.
But if East Timorese society still want to remember Falintil, he suggested that a special elite force be created within FDTL and be named Falintil Commandos.
2. OJETIL protests the dissolution of Falintil (Timor Post Front Page second lead)
The students group OJETIL, yesterday, sent a protest letter to Falintil Commander Taur Matan Ruak on the dissolution of Falintil.
OJETIL said the dissolution was a betrayal to East Timor's history and was not done in consultation with all political parties, in particular Fretilin. Fretilin, OJETIL said, underwent great sacrifice under difficult circumstances to start Fretilin as a resistance force. Fretilin together with Falintil, said the letter, carried out the struggle for East Timor's freedom for the past 24 years.
The dissolution of Falintil, said OJETIL, also was a betrayal to the Falintil fighters who gave their lives for East Timor's freedom from the Indonesians.
East Timorese society feel sad that Falintil, as the Armed Forces of the Maubere people, has been sacrificed to accommodate the political interests of certain groups, said OJETIL.
We wont dwell into the problems. At this historical day in the formation of FDTL, we only wish to remind the people of two things:
a) On Falintil Commander Taur Matan Ruak's advice that FDTL will be a professional military force and will not interfere in political and business affairs of the country. b) That FDTL, by virtue of belonging to the people, will be non-partisan and neutral towards all political parties. This message will mean that Fretilin would have to make further sacrifices because Falintil has always been seen as its creation in the liberation struggle. But we feel that Fretilin will be politically matured enough to live up to its expectations for the sake of the country.
Taur Matan Ruak's assurances will certainly be important in the forthcoming elections where confidence is needed to allay the fears of voters. This will indeed be a milestone in East Timor's new history.
4. Civil and Voter Registration Team Arrive in Dili (Suara Timor Lorosae lead Page 2)
An international team which will carry out the registration of residents and voters in all the districts, arrived in Dili yesterday.
This team comprises 80 people. They are from Africa, Europe, Latin America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, said Suzana Bucha, a staff member of the Civil Registry Unit.
Suzana said this was an expert team and team members had extensive experience in many countries.
Their focus will be on the registration of residents and the registration of voters, she said.
5. PKF Arrests Three Militia Members (Timor Post front page third lead)
Three militia members were arrested by PKF at several places along the border with West Timor. The three are currently being held for further investigations.
This was made known to Timor Post by Investigating Judge for Serious Crimes, Dili District, Alexandre Corte Rela. The three have not been identified, though one is known by his initials FSL.
FSL is a former TNI soldier and was associated with Dadurus Merah Putil militias. The other was from the Sakunar militias based in Oecussi. The third was from the Firmi Balibo militia group.
The three were arrested by PKF in January.
FSL is alleged to have burnt houses and is implicated in the murder of a child in Balibo.
Radio UNTAET, till now, has only managed to reach a number of districts though plans are in place for it to be heard throughout East Timor by the end of February.
This was stated by Radio UNTAET's Technical Coordinator Manuel Leo Doutel.
According to Manuel, Radio UNTAET was broadcasting on AM and FM frequencies. For Dili it is FM 91.5 and 684 AM; Baucau 105.1 FM, Vivequeque 98.5 FM,; Maliana 88.7 FM; Aileu 90.9 FM; Same 99.3 FM; Suai 93.3 FM; Oecusi 92.1 FM and Lospalos 91.5 FM.
But according to residents in Los Palos, Radio UNTAET cant be heard in the district.
We in Los Palos don't know what's happening in the outside world. It is said that Radio UNTAET is broadcasting on 91.5 FM, but we cant receive the transmission. We want to receive Radio UNTAET so that we wont be kept in the dark of what's happening, said Domingos Pereira from the Halibur Oan Kiak group.
Residents here only know news by listening to rumours. This makes us fee that we are isolated in the whole national development process, he said.
Bahasa Indonesia Headlines
1. ETTA Cabinet Agrees To Establish Falintil Veterans Association (Suara Timor Lorosae , Front Page second lead)
The ETTA Cabinet has agreed, in a meeting, to establish a Falintil veterans association to deal with problems associated with the former resistance force and to find solutions.
That meeting was chaired by the Transitional Administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello. In that meeting, the ETTA Cabinet agreed to establish rules and a framework to solve all problems related to the name and symbol of Falintil if there are protests from the public.
The Falintil veterans association will also be a custodian for all the assets of the former resistance force the most important being the Falintil coat-of-arms and the flag.
2. Xanana: New Country Needs New Blood; Falintil Will Not Be Forgotten (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page third lead)
The country at this moment needs new leaders, new blood and a new standard of living. But my capacity is very limited. I also understand that as an ordinary citizen, after giving a great deal of thought, I will not get involved in politics in this country. I only want to give my best to smoothen this new change.
The President of CNRT/CN, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao stressed this yesterday in Aileu, at the change of Falintil to the National Defence Forces (FDTL). At the ceremony, also, Falintil Commander Taur Matan Ruak became the commander of FDTL under the rank of Brigadier-General.
Xanana's speech shocked everyone, and it was probably aimed at critics of his leadership style.
I have no ambition for positions because my struggle is not to find power. I only accepted the role and promised to carry on the struggle for the survival of our country and our people, he said.
My capacity is only to carry out the mandate given to me by the people. I am not a warrior, he added.
3. Taur: There will be other countries supporting FDTL (Timor Post, Front Page second lead)
On the question of arms for the National Defense Forces (FDTL), Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak said there were other countries willing to help. One of them, he said, was Australia.
At the present moment, he said, Australia was giving aid to the FDTL.
He added that 36 officers would be responsible for the Navy, on board two battle-ships. The Army will comprise one battalion.
4. NGO Forum urges UNTAET to stop pressuring National Council (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page fourth lead)
The NGO Forum yesterday urged UNTAET and the Transition Cabinet to stop pressuring the National Council in making long-term decisions for restructuring the country.
The appeal letter was signed by Arseno Bano, ET NGO Forums Executive Director. The NGO Forum urged UNTAET to give its full support and recognition to the National Council and stop using it just as a rubber-stamp to pass various regulations in the interests of the Transitional Administration.
The appeal letter was also directed at the National Council. The NGO Forum urged the National Council to be more serious and act independently in making decisions with regard to the future of the country. The National Council was also asked to be more responsible to the Timorese people, which it is supposed to represent.
With only seven months for the elections, if it is fixed at 30 August, we have to ask if all preparations are in place to ensure that it is carried out smoothly? Civil registration begins in early March and regulations for the registration of political parties have yet to be finalized. Those people who are advocating for the elections do not want it to be postponed. Come what may, they want it held this year.
With the political consolidation process still in limbo and the possibility of political divisions turning violent, is it wise for us to have elections now? Wont it be better if we had a national consensus for a interim administration with a mandate that the elections must be held within three to five years?
Sergio de Mello's views and this view must be debated at the National Council which meets on 12 February. The decision to be made must be what the people want. Only then can we move forward.
1. Bishop Belo Calls For Timor Gap Watch (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)
There needs to be an independent, credible body to closely monitor all the royalties from the Timor Gap flowing into the country. The body could be named the Timor Gap Watch.
The Bishop of Dili, Mgr Carlos Filipie Ximenes Belo said this when commenting on an STL report that the Timor Gap royalties for East Timor [based on a formula of 90:10] could propel the country into a rich nation status in the Asia-Pacific.
I am skeptical with all the talk that we will be a rich country because of oil. We will only be a rich country if the royalties (from oil and gas) are used to develop the country and not if they are spent by those who have been corrupted, he said.
In order to ensure that the royalties are used only for the country, Bishop Belo called for the setting up of an independent body that will monitor every liter of oil from the Timor Gap and the way royalties are generated from it. Also the manner in which the royalties are spent will be closely monitored.
That independent body could be set up by the new government, said Bishop Belo. But Bishop Belo warned that the composition of the body must include credible people from the private sector, social organizations and the Church. He stressed that the body should be a national one.
If there is such a watchdog, I believe East Timor will be a rich country. If not we might be like certain nations in Africa where oil revenue has been used to enrich the corrupt and not the people, said Bishop Belo.
2. Cancio: I intend to return if Ainaro people accept me (Timor Post Front Page second lead)
The militia leader of Mati Hidup Dengan Indonesia [Live Or Die With Indonesia] (Mahidi), Cancio de Carvalho Lopes, has sent a letter to UNTAET's head Sergio Vieria de Mello stating that his people wanted to return to East Timor, provided the residents of Ainaro agreed to accept them back.
Because of this, yesterday, UNTAET's Chief of Staff N. Paramaswaran chaired a reconciliation meeting in Ainaro which was attended by about 400 people.
UNTAET spokesperson Barbara Reis said the meeting was successful and contributed in the reconciliation process.
According to Reis, UNTAET's Chief of Staff had an earlier meeting with Cancio Lopes and other militia leaders in Kupang on 19 January this year. In that meeting, she said, Cancio expressed a strong desire to return home.
In his letter to de Mello, Reis said Cancio had accepted the results of the popular consultation on 30 August 1999. He and his people, said Barbara, were confident the legal process in East Timor would deal with the violence in 1999.
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