Subject: Timor-Leste Local Media Monitoring, 13 Feb 03

Timor-Leste Local Media Monitoring

Dili, 13 Feb 03

Timor Post: President Gusmão Wants Prisoners To Be More Productive

Duringa meeting with the new ambassador of Denmark to TL, one of the issues raised by President Gusmão was the prisoner system to allow prisoners to have productive activities like animal husbandry, agriculture and even the possibility to obtain cash to support the family. The President proposed the jail to be distant from the city in order to enable these activities, reported Timor Post.

STL:Xanana Scheduled To Visit Malaysia, Different Religion Must Be Respected

President Gusmão is scheduled to visit Malaysia, as well to attend the Non-Allied Movement's conference, of which Timor-Leste will become a member. The President will leave on February 24 accompanied by his wife Kirsty Sword Gusmão and a delegation, which includes the Minister of Foreign Affairs José Ramos-Horta, reported STL. During a visit to the local Mosque in Dili to celebrate the Idul-Adha day, President Gusmão appealed to different religious beliefs to respect each other. He said, "religion is not meant to divide us but to strengthen our unity". He added that it was his first visit to the mosque and he's happy to see that after all Timorese Muslims have a place to say their prayers.

Timor Post: Timor Post: FDTL Lacks Finance To Have Effective Force

In an interview with Timor Post, F-FDTL Chief of State, Colonel Lere Anan said FDTL lacks finance to effectively train its forces. Anan said, over the last two years former Falintil members were recruited and formed the first battalion. He said the second battalion, is preparing to take over the duties adding to 1500 the numbers of the defence forces. Colonel Lere said that UN is aware that FDTL is operating on a strict budget because public finances are not enough for the development of the country. Referring to remarks made by CPD-RDTL during the National Conference on January 25, that FDTL should have between 15,000-20,000 members, Colonel Anan said this would be seen as a threat by the neighbor countries (Indonesia and Australia). The money spent on a big defence force would be better of used on the orphans and widows, he said. He added that many members of the Armed Forces have undergone training overseas in different areas without paying anything. He said the last platoon left to Mozambique recently for further training.

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