Subject: Local Media Monitoring - July 1, 2003



July 1, 2003


1. On 25 June the US State Department warned Americans travelling to East Timor to "exercise extreme caution" in public places such as bars, restaurants, schools, resorts and places of worship". Timor-Leste's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Jose Ramos Horta, today reacted angrily to the warning. Dr Ramos Horta said " Timor-Leste has no trace of the presence of extremist terrorist groups". He said that the warning was "baseless and politically motivated to cover their (the Americans) backs because of previous intelligence failures elsewhere". "The US and other Western countries have a far higher level of violence, making them far more dangerous than poor developing countries like Timor-Leste that always fall victim to Western countries' stereotypes", said Dr Ramos Horta.

2. A political observer from Dili University, Mr Julio Thomas Pinto, yesterday said that the US travel warning was fundamentally based on the Chief of Staff, Col Lere Anan Timor's threat to resign, not the recent fighting between martial arts groups. Mr Pinto said that the United States has its own criteria to measure the security level of a country.

3. A Parliamentarian member from Fretilin, Mr Norberto Espirito Santo, said in the plenary session that a member of the National Police in Quelikai stabbed a Quelikaian resident at a cock-fight. Mr Espirito Santo said that the incident occurred on June 21,2003. Mr Espirito Santo told the plenary session that the policeman, who was involved in the game, attacked Aniceto Belo after losing the cock fight. During the fight, the policeman pulled out his trade mark police knife and stabbed his opponent's left hand. The Speaker of the National Parliament, Mr Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo, said that he will write a formal letter concerning the matter as soon as possible to the Interior Minister, Mr Rogerio Lobato and the Commander of the National Police, Mr Paulo de Fatima Martins.


1. Timor-Leste's Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Jose Ramos Horta, commented on the US State Department Travel Advice about Timor-Leste by saying "the US Travel Advice is usually based on faulty US intelligence. The US has no intelligence gathering facilities in Timor-Leste. Often they rely on other sources, such as those from Australia. And we know how criminality in Australia and in the US is far higher than in Timor-Leste said Ramos Horta in a press release last Saturday. (This date differs from that given by STL. The article repeats other comments already reffered to in STL)

2. President Xanana Gusmao yesterday met with the Head of UNMISET, Mr Kamalesh Sharma and his Deputy, Mr Sukihiro Hasegawa at Palacio das Cinzas to discuss the RESPECT Program. During the meeting they discussed the RESPECT assistance fund for vulnerable groups, widows, Veterans and former Combatants. President Gusmao said that they will work in close cooperation with the Government, UNDP and the Veterans for the follow-up to the Program. President Gusmao also said that the German Government will provide vocational training assistance to the Becora and Hera technical schools in Dili, the Fatumaka technical school in Baucau and the Salesiano Dom Bosco technical school in Fuiloro-Lospalos.

3. Timor Post also reported the Quelikai incident, where a policeman stabbed his opponent in a cock fight as reported in STL.

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