|Subject: East Timor headlines/6April 2001
1. Xanana Gusmao: International Court Not A Priority For Timorese
1. Xanana Gusmao: International Court Not Priority For Timorese People (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page headline)
The President of CNRT/CN said yesterday the setting up of an international court was not among the priorities of the Timorese people.
"We cannot even think of the international tribunal because we have so many things to do," Gusmao told students, lecturers, lawyers and non-governmental organization activists at Columbia University`s School of Law in New York. The East Timorese’ priorities at present are community health, education and job opportunities, he said.
“After the total destruction of Timor Lorosae in September 1999, immediately after the announcement of the results of the popular referendum, we lost a lot and till this moment we need lots of aid to rebuild again,” stressed the CNRT President.
In the total destruction of the territory in September 1999, East Timor had lost many buildings and facilities, he said. He noted that some $ 14 million had recently been spent to provide educational facilities in East Timor.
"Yet so many children going to school still do not have tables and chairs," he pointed out.
Xanana also asked the international community to support political reconciliation in East Timor. Political reconciliation is needed to develop the country, he stressed, adding that an international tribunal could not help the East Timorese fulfill their needs.
"What we want to do now is to boost political reconciliation, and this is one of the reasons why I resigned as president of the [national] council," he added.
2. Ten Refugees Die Of Hunger In West Timor (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page second lead)
At least 10 refugees, in West Timor camps, have died because of hunger because of a severe shortage of rice. Also the refugee camps are stricken with disease due to poor sanitation because of the onslaught of the rainy season.
This was stated by West Timor Jesuit priest Father Edi Mulyono yesterday. He said at the moment there are 100,000 refugees in camps in Atambua and Kupang.
He also said at the moment though many refugees were ready to return home to Timor Lorosae, there were, however, apprehensive about travelling because of news that Xanana Gusmao has resigned as National Council President.
Father Mulyono said many of the refugees were fearful that because of Xanana’s resignation there could be political strife in Timor Lorosae and this could have an implication on their safety in the country.
3. Colonel Lere: US$80 Wage Not Enough For Timor Lorosae Defense Force (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page third lead)
The monthly salary of US$80 received by the Timor Lorosae Defense Forces (FDTL) is not enough to meet their basic needs, said Deputy FDTL Commander Colonel Lere Anan Timur.
Colonel Lere was speaking to the National Council’s Permanent Commission for Foreign Affairs and Defense when they visited the FDTL headquarters in Aileu yesterday.
The NC Commission traveled to Aileu to assess FDTL’s role in its transitory phase from Falintil.
“We already made it known to the NC commission that the $80 a month salary is just not enough for the men to live on. It’s now up to the leader to decide on whether we can perform our duties to the country on this salary,” said Lere.
Lere also brought out the issue of facilities for the FDTL troops.
“There are inadequate facilities for the single soldiers. These soldiers do not have bathrooms and kitchens in their barracks. Most of the time, the only food they get is plain rice and instant noodles. Meat is only available two times a week,” added Lere.
Also Lere said that though there was a clinic for the FDTL there was no doctor stationed there.
4. Dr Lucas: Give Priorities To the Small Businessman (Timor Post, Front Page second lead)
The Transitional Administration and even the new future government must give serious attention to the development of small business in the country. Economic experts, in a talk show hosted by TVTL, said this was important in order to narrow the economic divide in the country.
The economists appearing in the show were Dr Lucas da Costa, Joao Mariano Saldanha of the East Timor Study Group and Dr Helda da Costa. The TVTL talk show, hosted by celebrity Anito Matos, will be aired early next week.
Dr Lucas said the administration must give importance to the small businessman.
“Mico economic activities must be stressed and only then can the macro economy thrive,” he said.
Dr Lucas also criticized UNTAET and CNRT for favoring large foreign businesses in the economic development of Timor Lorosae. He gave examples of this favoritism.
“Most of the hotels and restaurants in Dili are controlled by foreign investors. Why don’t licenses be given to Timorese people? We have more than qualified people businesspeople here,” he said.
Dr Helda da Costa stressed that emphasis must be given to the country’s security situation.
“Private investment is dependent on both national and economic security,” he said.
Besides security, Dr Helder said there had to be certainty in investment laws.
“If there is no guaranteed certainty, for instance in land tenure, no foreign investors would want to come here,” he added.
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