Subject: East Timor headlines/ 14 Feb 2001

Bahasa Indonesia Headlines ­ Wednesday 14 February 2001

Presidential Issue: Fretilin To Nominate Xanana
Cabinet Agrees To New Passports
Horta Back After 18-Day Tour Of Six Countries 
Thousands Of Hectares Of Agricultural Land Submerged, 117 Families Flee To Higher Grounds
Thirty Workers Sacked, Old Machines Taken To Australia

1. Presidential Issue: Fretilin To Nominate Xanana (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)

Probably for the first time ever, before the elections, Fretilin has announced its presidential candidate.

In an interview with STL, the General Coordinator of Fretilin, Lu-Olo said Fretilin had already adopted a position that Xanana Gusmao will be chosen by the party to be Timor Lorosae’s first president.

“Regardless of whether the party has its own candidate or not, we have decided that Xanana be Timor Lorosae’s first president when the country becomes independent,” said Lu-Olo.

Now, he said, East Timor must follow the preliminary processes for the forthcoming general election. This, he added, was important to ensure East Timor’s full independence.

“Because of this importance, it is essential that we first think of reconciliation among ourselves,” said Lu-Olo.

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2. Cabinet Agrees To New Passports (Timor Post, Page 2 second lead)

Members of the Transitional Cabinet have met and agreed on the proposal to issue new passports to East Timorese who intend to travel overseas. This was announced by UNTAET spokesperson Peter Biro at a press conference last Friday.

With this agreement, said Biro, in the near future UNTAET will be able to issue passports to those who are travelling overseas. According to Biro, this new passport is the official travel document of Timor Lorosae in the transitional period. At the Cabinet meeting, it was decided that the Transitional Minister for Internal Affairs, Anna Pessoa, will handle all passport matters.

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3. Horta Back After 18-Day Tour Of Six Countries (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page side-bar)

The Foreign Minister of the ETTA Cabinet Jose Ramos-Horta is back in the country after an 18-day tour of six countries in Asia, America and Europe. In a press conference yesterday, he said, he managed to:

a) Get the UN Security Council’s approval for the extension of UNTAET’s mandate to 31 January 2002;

b) Consolidate bilateral ties with Indonesia in efforts to gain entry into ASEAN [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations]

c) Receive greater commitment from Germany for the long-term development of East Timor.

Ramos-Horta also told the press conference that he was in Davos, Switzeland with other world leaders at the World Economic Forum.

“It was an honorable moment for East Timor to be with other world leaders at that important conference. It was an honor for a leader from a poor country to be with leaders from the world’s richest and most powerful countries,” said Ramos-Horta.

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4. Thousands Of Hectares Of Agricultural Land Submerged, 117 Families Flee To Higher Grounds (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page top-box)

Thousands of hectares of agricultural land in Baucau are currently submerged because of heavy rains in the district. About 117 families have also fled for higher ground because of the heavy downpour for five days.

Bridges linking Baucau, Laga, Baguia and Los Palos have been swept away. Los Palos, now, is completely cut off from Baucau.

The worst hit by floods is the village of Seical in the Laga sub-district. Seical is now under 1.5 metres of water. About 117 families in Seical are taking shelter in higher grounds. At this moment, it is yet to be determined the extent of damage in the district.

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5. Thirty Workers Sacked, Old Machines Taken To Australia (Suara Timor Lorosae, Page 2 lead)

Eusebio Guterres, the Director of Lifet (a labor advocacy group) and a member of the National Council said the problems of power failures in Dili were a legacy of the “mess” caused by [the Northern Territory’s] Power and Water Authority.

PAWA, he said, had sacked 30 people who had extensive experience during the time of the Portuguese and the Indonesians. Besides that, he added, PAWA had sent certain vital equipment claimed to be spoilt for repair in Australia.

“Till now we don’t really know whether these parts had been repaired or not,” said Eusebio.

Eusebio stressed that the problem was now a national one which ETTA has to overcome.

For that reason, he said, the minister responsible ­ Joao Carrascalao ­ has to give a full briefing to the National Council on what is being done to overcome serious power supply problems in Dili.

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