|Subject: East Timor headlines/ 20 Feb 2001
1. Ainaro People Disappointed (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)
The reconciliation meeting between the Ainaro people and former militia leader Cancio da Lopes Carvalho failed to take place yesterday. Cancio’s delegation failed to show up at the meeting in Salele, Covalima.
The meeting which was to take place yesterday involved people’s leaders from four sub-districts in Ainaro, two priests, National Council members from Ainaro and representatives from the women’s group OMT.
Cancio’s delegation did not attend, despite the efforts of UNTAET’s Chief of Staff Nagalingam Parameswaran in getting assurances from the former militia leader.
After the delegation from Ainaro and Dili left Salele, Cancio’s brother Nemecio told the press that the reason why the former militia leader and his people failed to turn up was a personal one.
He said Cancio did not turn up because his youngest son was badly injured in a road accident.
2. UN Stops Temporarily Meeting With Militias (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page second lead)
The good intentions of the UN in arranging a meeting between the Ainaro people and the followers of former militia leader Cancio Carvalho was not reciprocated. This was because Cancio and his people failed to show up yesterday at the arranged venue in Salele, Covalima.
UNTAET’s Chief of Staff N. Parameswaran, also a diplomat from neighbouring Malaysia, was involved since the early stages in reconciliation talks among the Timorese people. The talks were held in the refugee camps and in Timor Lorosae.
Param’s efforts had brought various successes, like the return of the milisas and the visits of Team Saka commander, Joanico Belo, and Team Alfa’s Jose Conceicao to Timor Lorosae.
But the failure of yesterday’s meeting has caused the UN to adopt a more harder stance. All dialogue with the militias and pro-autonomy leaders have been suspended.
“But our commitment will be there to ensure that all the refugees, from West Timor, will be able to return home to Timor Lorosae. In the middle of this month, UNTAET will send another ship to West Timor to bring back 400 refugees who intend to return to their villages in Timor Lorosae,” said Param, after he returned from Salele.
3. Nearly 3,000 People Affected By Floods In Seical (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page top-box)
The floods which have inundated the Seical sub-district, in Baucau, have received serious attention from the National Council. The NC team which visited the area presented their report at yesterday National Council session.
Team leader Albino da Silva said 2,8880 people from 539 families had been affected by floods which hit the sub-district for the first time. The NC team in their report said because of the floods 539 houses were damaged, 30 buffaloes and 18 pigs missing and 20 tonnes of paddy harvest submerged.
Seical is now inundated by about 2 metres of water.
The irrigation systems in Sobabere and Kasameta in Seical have also been completely destroyed by the floods.
The NC report will be submitted to the Minister of Infrastructure Joao Carrascalao, the Minister for the Economy Mari Alkatari and the Social Affairs Minister Filomeno Jacob.
4. Issue Spreads The Replacement of Dili DA (Suara Timor Lorosae, Page 2 lead)
The issue surrounding the resplacement of Dili District Administrator (DA) John Ryan seems to be spreading.
Sources told Suara Timor Lorosae that Ruben Braz de Carvalho, a graduate from University Timor Timur (Untim), presently working at the Community Empowerment Project, is to replace Ryan.
“Several days ago, I met Ruben and he told me he had received a letter from UNTAET indicating that he was to be Dili DA, replacing Mr John Ryan,” said a friend of Ruben.
Meanwhile, Caroline Tosti from Dili District’s Women’s Affairs and Publications section denied the replacement.
“I haven’t heard the about the replacement and I haven’t met the person who is supposed to be the new DA. If there was a new person, I would have got the news straight from UNTAET HQ,” she said.
5. Sabica Rejects Nepotism Accusations In the Recrutiment of FDTL members (Timor Post, Front Page headline)
The Commander of Company 2 National Defense Forces (FDTL), Sabica, yesterday rejected suggestions that nepotism was involved in the recruitment of 650 ex-Falintil members for the FDTL.
“The suggestions are lies. I cannot comment because the issue of nepotism is in the minds of individuals. That, however, is wrong thinking because the recruitment process followed the proper procedures. Those who fulfilled all the criteria passed the test,” said Sabica, who was in Aileu undergoing Taekwondo training from the Korean PKF.
Sabica stressed that one important criteria for the selection of ex-Falintils, to be in FDTL, was the health and age.
“Many Falintil members are sick and old so much so that they have to be pensioned off,” said Sabica.
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