Subject: East Timor Press Review 30 October 2002

East Timor Press Review 30 October 2002

· Suara Timor Lorosae’s front Page reported on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Ramos-Horta’s audience with Members of Parliament yesterday to explain about the signing of International Criminal Court (ICC) and Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Timor-Leste and the USA. Mr. Horta said he is aware that the signing of this agreement has raised many questions with many people in favor and some against. One of the concerns raised by Members of Parliament is that an American military base could be established in the country under this accord. Regarding this matter the Foreign Minister replied that as a new nation Timor-Leste need the support of all countries.

· STL reported that the visit of President Gusmão to West Timor should encourage Timorese refugees to return to Timor-Leste. The President of the National Parliament, Francisco Guterres said he agrees with Mr. Gusmão’s view about reconciliation and amnesty as a way of encouraging the refugees to return. Francisco Guterres will travel with President Gusmão to Atambua and Kupang next week.

· The Indonesian government has provided a bullet-proof car (Mercedes Benz) to be used by President Gusmão during his 4 day visit to West Timor, reported STL.

· In separate interviews, Members of Parliament Fernando Lasama Araújo of PD party and Maria Paixõ of PSD stated that they will push the government to allocate funds to rehabilitate the presidential palace in order to create a better working condition.

· Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Ramos-Horta has pleaded with Continental University to move out of the premises assigned to his department or face being handed over the foreign affairs department work reported STL.

· It is reported that former militia, João França da Silva was yesterday sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by Dili District Court for serious crime committed in 1999.

· STL reported that all local and international businesses in Timor-Leste, must pay the tax in order to help the government develop a better nation.

· Timor Post front page headline reads: Prime Minister criticizes UN for not setting a working place for the presidential. Prime Minister Alkatiri said UN forgot to provide a palace to the President after 20 May 2002. “If UN came here to prepare the nation then, why didn’t they plan an office for the Republic President? They knew that the country was having a president.”

· Coordinator General of Continental University (UNICON), Col. Lere Annan yesterday affirmed that the university is only using the foreign affairs building temporarily. He said the agreement states it clearly. That it is for temporary use.

· Cape Verde National Parliament has invited Timor-Leste Parliament President to visit the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community. The dates for Mozambique visit are not yet confirmed, informed Francisco Guterres, President of the National Parliament.

· President’s Gusmão Office is currently quiet and without any visitors, except for the security guards because the president is preparing for his trip to West Timor.

· On 28 October Father Ricardo da Silva visited Sebastião Gomez’s grave to lay a wreath of flowers in commemoration of the 11th anniversary of his killing in Motael Church in Dili. Father Ricardo said he hopes the nation has not forgotten those people who died for the independence of this country. He hopes that those in the government can gather data of people who died in the struggle and nominate them as heroes of the nation.

· It is reported that Border Control officers are stopping illegal imports of goods from overseas. But on the other hand visitors coming to Timor-Leste are complaining that the officers are taking their goods even though they are legal. Yesterday one of these owners went back to get his good but no Border Control Officers were present at their workstation.

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