Subject: Timor-Lester Local Media Monitoring, Dili, 03 February 2003

Timor-Lester Local Media Monitoring Dili, 03 February 2003

Air Crash

Timor-Leste's President, Xanana Gusmão, on Sunday paid tribute to the six crew who lost their lives in the crash of the Russian plane, in Baucau. Meanwhile the Government has established a team headed by Minister of Transport and Communication, Ovidio de Jesus to investigate the accident. De Jesus and the team traveled to the site on Sunday morning. Prime Minister Alkatiri accepted an offer from Australia to send in a team of experts to be part of the investigation team. (TP)

Xanana: "FDTL Still Weak In Many Areas"

Speaking at the second anniversary of F-FDTL in Lospalos on Saturday, President Gusmão stressed that the Armed Forces "is still weak in many areas and more is needed to be done". The President added " on the way here [Lospalos] I watched both sides of the road full of nice cornfield but at FDTL base the grass looks tall and the few corn plants around looked more like flowers". He appealed to members of the armed forces to change their mind and learn more because being in the army doesn't mean to carry only a gun. He added that in 18 months time FDTL would take ver the security of the nations from PKF and should also contribute in the development of the state. (TP)

TP: Editorial on UNMISET-FDTL

On Monday "Timor Post" stated, in its editorial: "UNMISET and Falintil-FDTL last week agreed to extend the presence of F-FDTL in Ermera. The initial agreement allowed limited operations to the Armed Forces in December 2002 [January 2003] in Atsabe after an armed group attacked the local residents leading to the death of five people and a few injured. The mandate given by UNMISET to FDTL ended on 2nd February. As reported, the presence of F-FDTL brought tranquility among the people who are now requesting the increase of the Armed Forces in that area. Therefore one must say that UNMISET did listen to the concerns of the people. But the agreement reached two weeks ago is not enough and will leave the people leave unhappy. We have witnessed that Falintil operations are guided by UNMISET decision". The editorial goes to say that the end of UN mandate in Timor-Leste in July 2004 will signify the end of UNPOL and PKF mission. Therefore UNMISET must seriously prepare the military and Timorese police so that when UNMISET departs the two institutions can effectively carry on the duties. "PKF, UNPOL, Police and F-FDTL must engage in intensive training due to the short time left. If these two institutions are left unprofessional and unprepared to take over the tasks then regardless of their numbers, the problem will remain," says the editorial. (TP)

Graduation of Border Police

"Timor Post" reported on Monday that around 60 effectives of TLPS were graduated on Saturday in Maliana as Border Police. Speaking at the event, Commissioner Paulo Martins said the new officers will control the borders and provide security to people living in the area, and also maintain good relations with the neighboring country. He added that the police officers will take over the services carried out by Australian Battalion in July 2004. (TP, STL)

PKF's Activities

The Australian Lieutenant Col. Lean told the media last Friday that the Australian battalion had build three agriculture schools, three houses in the border market of Nunura (where the Border Control officers live) and three houses in Batugade as transit centre for refugees from West Timor. The Japanese Engineering Group (JEG) together with other PKF members as well as the community are fixing roads affected by landslide and roads classified as danger during the wet season. The JEG is building a soccer stadium in Maliana. The construction, which began on 20 of January, is expected to be completed by February 20, said the JEG Captain Ozawa, cited by the media. (TP, STL)

Unknown Boat "Docked" In Suai Sea

Suai and Cassa (Ainaro District) residents reported the sight of boats with Indonesian flag in Suai Betano and Same reported "Timor Post" on Monday. According to the newspaper, the people of those areas are concerned that boats which allegedly enter Timorese waters to fish, unload goods or "to infiltrate in TL, hired by somebody from West Timor", the newspaper cites a resident, named Fortunato who said, " On 29 we saw two boats and on Sunday another two new boats were docked between Cassa and Suai." Fortunato, said the newspapeer, told that case had been reported to the police. Nevertheless, TP wrote that local residents believe that there isn't much the police can do. The people concerned would like the government to raise this issue with theIndonesian representative in TL, added "Timor Post". (TP)


The remains of the six Russian crew who died when their plane crashed in Baucau yesterday afternoon have now arrived in Dili. Russian air crew serving with UNMISET solemnly carried the flag-draped coffins containing the remains to the UN Military Hospital in Dili where they will be preserved until an autopsy is carried out. Earlier today the Timorese Prime-Minister Mari Alkatiri visited the accident site and announced the creation of a Government Commission of Inquiry to be headed by the Minister for Transport, Communications and Public Works, Ovidio Amaral. An Australian investigation team is set to arrive in Dili tomorrow (Sunday) morning. They will be briefed by UNMISET before being taken by helicopter to the crash site. The investigators will also meet with the Government Commission of Inquiry.

UNMISET has made everything ready at the site for their arrival, including the installation of a power generator and adequate lighting so that investigations may continue in the hours of darkness. A tent-covered area for the parts of the aircraft to be brought in for examination has also been prepared, and UNMISET is providing the investigators with cars, food, water and accommodation. PKF troops and UN and Timorese police are keeping the area secure ahead of the investigators' arrival. Contrary to initial reports, it now appears that the Russian IL-76 aircraft did NOT crash in the mountains. While the area around Baucau is mountainous, the airfield itself is located in an open area. The aircraft made more than one attempt to land amid conditions of low clouds and dense fog. The crash, about 2km short of the western end of the runway, seems to have occurred during the second or third attempt at anding. The aircraft, operated by Euro Asia Aviation (an air cargo company based in the Laotian capital), was transporting app. 50 tonnes of equipment for the Portuguese/Timorese joint company Timor Telecom from Macao in China to Baucau. The equipment was to be used for the building of the Timorese telecommunications network. NMISET will release further details as they become available.

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