Subject: East Timor Press Review 18 September 2002

East Timor Press Review

18 September 2002

· Suara Timor Lorosae front page carried a photo of President Xanana Gusmão and President of the National Parliament, Francisco Guterres during a press conference at Dili airport before Mr. Gusmão’s departure.

· Above the picture read, “ Four people from Al-Qaeda group are already in East Timor.” MP Eusebio Guterres said that based on rumors he obtained information, four members of the group are currently living in Tasi Tolu and Caicoli area.

· During the press conference President Gusmão, rejected rumors that people connected to Al-Qaeda group are not present in East Timor. Mr. Gusmão appealed to the people not to believe in the rumors that Al-Qaeda followers are in East Timor. In addition, he said that the rumors are only to scare people.

· Alvaro Maria Freitas, a lawyer of Fortuna Legal Advocacy and Consultant said that the actions taken by the Australian Government in evacuating all of the Australian embassy staff is considered as most unpopular. “ We very much regret with the actions taken by the Australian Government,” said Mr. Freitas.

· In a separate article, FDTL Brigadier General, Taur Matan Ruak appealed to the population not to be frightened by rumors of terrorism in the country because it is not true. That’s why, “I appeal to the Timorese people, most of all those currently living in the capital Dili, not to be frightened by the terrorism. Falintil-FDTL forces will be among the people.” The Brigadier General added that the international community is in charge of the security of East Timor. Falintil-FDTL is under UN supervision. “Therefore as East Timor armed forces (Falintil-FDTL) is under their command and we cannot establish, we must follow the law which has been established by international armed forces.” “ I appeal to you all not to be scared of these rumors regarding terrorism because we would not allow something like this to happen in East Timor.”

· East Timor would formally become a member of the UN on 27 September, President Xanana Gusmão firmly said prior to his official visit to New Zealand, USA and Portugal. “ The event will not be for one person alone but it is a great honor for the whole nation of East Timor. We will be accepted as a new friend under the umbrella of UN, and let us welcome the event with joy”, added Mr. Gusmão.

· MP Leandro Isa’ac of East Timor Social Democratic Party, PSD said that his party fully supports the setting up of the national dialog commission initiated by President Xanana Gusmão as a bridge to reduce various problems faced by the nation.

· The newly established university Dom Martinho expects to receive 500 new students this year.

· Lucas Costa, Dili University Rector said that there is a need to protect local products and reduce imported products.

· It is reported that residents of Gleno, Ermera sub-district are happy with the government’s initiative in establishing a micro-finance institution there. The Prime Minister emphasized that the aim for the establishment of such institutions is to reduce poverty in East Timor.

· In a related article, the District Administrator, Victor dos Santos said this type of initiative shows that the government is paying attention to the people of that district.

· Parliament’s President, Francisco Guterres observed that captain Amico’s request to resign from the armed forces is due to various aspects. One is the recruitment of former Falintil veterans and the new recruits. Mr. Guterres said there must be a difference between the older Falintil and the new recruits. He said another problem is that many Falintil veterans have been disabled and still carry bullets in their bodies and are compensated with a small income to sustain their family. Another problem is that some of the new recruits have been appointed at higher ranks. He said this is the problem that led for captain Amico to tender his resignation, reported STL.

· The secretary of State for Tourism, Environment and Investment says that it is hard to attract investors to East Timor because the labor force and electricity rates are expensive and road conditions are not conducive.

· Timor Post’s front page reported on the tight security observed by the Australians and Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri commented that this is as an over-reaction on the part of the Embassy. The Prime Minister said that the actions by the Australians was incorrect and that they should consult with the government. In the same article the Counselor, John Michell said that Australia has coordinated their actions with the government on a private basis.

· President Xanana Gusmão had announced that he is scheduled to meet with the United Stated President, George W. Bush on 27 September in Washington, following his visit to New Zealand.

· A certain disease affecting plants have destroyed coconut trees in Baucau district and residents are worried as this may affect their livelihood.

· The traffic police department reported 1,154 traffic accidents with 411 deaths during the period from January to August this year.

· TP reported that Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri inaugurated the Gleno Micro Finance Branch yesterday.

· The Baucau Creative Center has identified four main areas of development for the community. These are mainly in the areas of art, construction, capacity development and the media.

· The paper reported that a police vehicle over-tuned in Trilolo, Baucau district. A police officer was treated for minor injuries.

· The Head of East Timor’s Sports Association, Jõao Carrascalao reported that at least six officials and 24 athletes will participate in the Asian Games from the 29 September to 14 October in nine various sporting events.

[Drafted by UNMISET Spokespersons Office]

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