Subject: Daily Media Review - June 18, 2003


Dili, June 18, 2003

Daily Media Review

Lere: "If I Resign I Will Not Hand in My Gun

Interview by "Timor Post" on Wednesday, F-FDTL chief of staff, Colonel Lere Anan Timor said if the government does not address the problem of the former combatants and clandestine he will resign, but will not hand in his guns. Lere said he woould retain the gun in "memory of those who passed away fighting for the independence of Timor-Leste". He said the issue of former Falintil and combatant have not been addressed by the government at all and it goes back to 1999. He added that the population is starting to lose respect for the government and people like him (Lere) and other members of the Armed Forces because they are seen as holding good positions, driving nice cars and ignore the well being of the same people they fought together for the liberation of Timor-Leste. Referring to the two commissions established to look into this matter, the F-FDTL Chief of Staff said he doesn't know the objective of the commissions and added that since the government is getting lot of support from other countries it should prioritise this problem. Lere Anan Timor would like Falintil to be acknowledged as the Armed Forces of the Timorese people. (TP)

Slovak Troops to Withdraw From Eritrea, Stay in Timor

Slovakia will withdraw its troops from the peacekeeping mission in Eritrea this year, but the Slovak field hospital operating in Timor-Leste will stay in the region until the end of the year, though its mandate ends in a few weeks, Defence Minister Ivan Simko told reporters today. "Since my takeover (in late 2002) I've been saying that 13 missions (abroad) are too many," he said. Simko said Slovakia would have to concentrate only on missions, which are very important for it, but it will have to withdraw from other missions. "We have a strong mission in Eritrea, and it is its turn now," Simko said. He said he had already informed the UN that Slovakia would withdraw its troops from Eritrea. A total of 196 Slovak soldiers operate in Eritrea at present. Unlike them, the

Slovak military hospital in Timor-Leste will keep operating, as the UN is specially interested in its service. The 35-strong hospital unit was originally to return home last summer. Slovakia is also preparing engineering troops for an operation in Iraq and it is likely to extend its engineers' operation in Afghanistan. Given its limited capacities, Slovakia will never offer large numbers of troops for peacekeeping missions, Simko said. (NewsEdge)

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