|Subject: East Timor headlines/ 23 Feb 2001
1. President Xanana Gusmao: Life To Be Tough The First Year After Independence (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)
The President of CNRT/CN Xanana Gusmao said yesterday life for Timorese will be tougher, with more difficulties, the first year after independence. He asked his people to brace themselves for more hardships, compared to the period, now, where UNTAET was running the country.
Because of that, he said, all socio-political parties concerned had to come together in a pact for national unity. But, he added, no party would be forced to enter that pact.
There have been concerns that Xanana’s call for a pact for national unity could put subtle pressure on political parties.
But Xanana reiterated that CNRT was only paving the way for it to happen.
“Parties are free to decide. If CNRT does not propose such a pact, who else would do it?” asked Xanana.
Xanana reminded all political parties to be aware of the current realities in the country.
“All our problems would not immediately disappear after independence. After independence life will be more difficult, compared to now where UNTAET is running the country and being criticized all the time,” said Xanana.
Because of this, said Xanana, the national pact will guarantee stability and enable the Constitution to be drafted without any one party trying to force its ideology on to the people.
2. NC Recommends 88 People for Constituent Assembly (Timor Post, Front Page headline)
The National Council’s Political Affairs Commission recommended that 88 people be chosen in the general election, on 30 August 2001, to be members of the Constituent Assembly.
In a report that was submitted to the National Council yesterday, the commission recommended that of the 88 representatives, one should be from each district. The elected Constituent Assembly members will then, within 90 days, make preparations to adopt a constitution for an independent Timor Lorosae.
The Commission’s report also stipulated that at least 30 per cent of candidates for the 30 August election should be women.
3. Portugal Helps Orphan Children In Laga (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page third lead)
The Portuguese government has given USD22,000 to orphan children in Baucau’s Laga sub-district. The children are now under the care of Catholic nuns in the Salesian Mission.
“Our aid is to support the children’s protection program in Timor Lorosae. We came here to help rebuild Timor Lorosae,” said Dr Isaltino de Morais, President of the Municipality of Oeiras city. He was speaking to reporters in Baucau.
Dr Isaltino was in a delegation of Portuguese dignitaries that visited Baucau and Liquica. They were hosted by the Minister of Infrastructure Joao Carrascalao.
Dr Isaltino assured the people of Baucau that the Portuguese government will stand by them.
“We will stand by you more so in times of difficulties. This is because Portugal and Timor Lorosae are like brothers and sisters,” said Dr Isaltino.
Besides helping the orphans in Laga, Portugal also gave aid to the following schools in Baucau district: SD Vemasse, SD Seical, SDK Baucau and SMP Vasco da Gama Mantuto.
4. China Wants Good Ties With Timor Lorosae (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page side-bar)
The Head of the Chinese Mission Chen Changguang said yesterday China wants to establish good ties with Timor Lorosae, as a neighbour in the region, when it is fully independent.
“We want to be good regional friends in the Asia-Pacific. I think we can work together well bilaterally,” he said in an interview with STL.
Chen said that China, as a permanent member of the Security Council, will support all efforts of Timor Lorosae on its path to full independence.
He said as a result of CNRT/CN President Xanana Gusmao’s visit to Beijing last year, 50 hand-tractors, paddy-harvesters and 3 excavators were donated to Timor Lorosae.
He said Beijing had already earmarked USD6 million for Timor Lorosae and the aid would be disbursed in three tranches.
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