Subject: Daily Media Review 5 June 2003


Subject: Daily Media Review 5 June

Dili, June 05, 2003

Daily Media Review

Alkatiri's Visit Will Improve Relations with Jakarta

Three members of Parliament were of the opinion that the visit of PM's Alkatiri to Indonesia will improve relations between the two countries, and specially the security situation in the border. Cipriana Pereira (Fretilin) said that the history between Timor-Leste and Indonesia in the past 24 years should not be a barrier but a perspective to establish profitable bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries. Aliança de Araujo (PNT) said she hoped that the visit will not only focus on political matters but also about reconciliation and more important, on the Timor-Leste refugees still living in West Timor. An article published by Timor Post reproduces statements by, Prime Minister Alkatiri, who clarified his previous declarations on the establishment of an international tribunal. The Indonesian government had reacted strongly on the matter. Alkatiri said that in order to strengthen the ties between the two countries he will further clarify the matter during his official visit to Indonesia, next week. (STL, TP)

Finland Donated 1,2 Million For TL

The Minister of Finance and Planning, Madalena Brites Boavida and the Ambassador of Finland, Matti Pullinen signed an agreement on Wednesday of the donation of 1.2 million US dollars to the government of Timor-Leste. After signing the agreement, the Minister of Finance told the media that the donation is to support the economy of Timor-Lese for this year. The donation will be channeled to the government through the World Bank, said the Finnish Ambassador Matti Pullinen. (TP)

Foreign Aid Since 1999 Nearly USD 1 Billion (STL)

Foreign financial aid from 37 donor nations and international agencies to East Timor since 1999 has totaled almost USD 1 billion, it was revealed at the Development Partners meeting held in Dili. The financial breadkdown on Timor's foreign aid is part of the first foreign aid register compiled on the world's newest nation. Of a total of USD 993 million already pledges to Dili, about USD 760 million has already been "implemented", leaving a balance of USD 210 million for future development projects. Timor's main bilateral aid partner is Australia (USD 161 million), followed by Japan (USD 142 million) and Portugal (USD 140 million). The European Union (USD 133 million) is the fouth-placed donor, followed by the United States (USD 80 million). These five donors account for two-thirds of Timor's foreign aid and 70 percent of this assistance was spent on budget support, humanitarian, education and health projects. Aid to Timor in the past three years corresponds to about USD 1,200 per capita, based on an estimated 820,000 inhabitants in 2002. The Timor aid register also highlights the need for better "cooperation, coordination and exchange of information" among the international donor community and the Dili government. Meanwhile the Secretary of State for Labor and Solidarity Arsenio Bano said that Timor-Leste faces high unemployment of 18%. According to Bano the main reason for unemployment is due to the increase number of high school students that did not attend universities or colleges and there are not enough job creation. He said that currently his department is managing the RESPECT fund provided by the Government of Japan. Another alternative is to send Timorese abroad to work, said Bano. (STL, Lusa)

Job Creation Is Gov't No.1 Priority: PM Tells Donor Conference

The creation of jobs to invigorate East Timor's feeble economy is the Dili government's main objective, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said Wednesday at the opening of the Development Partners meeting held in Dili. Alkatiri told the conference, the eighth of international representatives and Timorese leaders, that two-thirds of his country's GDP was dependent on government spending and this reliance has to be reduced. Eighty percent of state spending is financed by international aid, he added, making it difficult to cut back the state's pivotal role in the national economy. The Timorese leader gave the conference a blow-by-blow account of the evolution of his country's dire economic situation and warned this could deteriorate further in 2004 with the withdrawal of the United Nations mission. The current scenario has been worsened by the delay of Timor`s rainy season, which has led to "a significant increase in agricultural prices", which could affect Timorese farmers competitiveness and foment a "more severe cycle of crisis", warned Alkatiri. The reduction of Timor's unemployment, which affects 50 percent of its young people, is "the main challenge faced by the government", Alkatiri said, noting that 16,000 people annually were becoming jobless. (Lusa, STL)

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