Subject: Local Media Monitoring - May 23, 2003




1. The Government's General Inspector, Mr Mariano Lopes da Cruz, yesterday met with Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri to report on inspections currently being carried out by his auditing department. Mr. Cruz said inspections had begun in the Customs Service and at the Commission of Reception, Truth and Reconciliation. Mr. Cruz told reporters that his meeting with the Prime Minister was routine, aimed at up dating the Prime Minister and seeking guidance.

2. President Xanana Gusmao appealed the international community to assist East Timorese refugees in West Timor. Since the refugees' status was lifted by the Indonesian Government, most of the East Timorese refugees have been living in bad conditions in their camps. According to President Xanana, he fears that the international community may be unwilling to assist because of militia presence in the camps.

3. On Thursday, the Central Jakarta District Court acquitted Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman, a former military commander in East Timor, of crimes against humanity in the territory in 1999. News agencies reported. Presiding judge Andi Samsan Nganro said the "dignity and position of Brig. Gen. Tono Suratman should be restored to him". In a previous hearing, prosecutor Gabriel Simangunsong demanded a sentence of 10 years imprisonment for the former commander of the Dili military resort Wira Dharma 164.

4. Bishop Belo has again voiced concern about the increasing of the use of Indonesian language among the youth. He said that Timor-Leste has decided to adopt Portuguese and Tetum as its official and national language, however the youth tends to use Indonesian language rather than Portuguese. He urged the Portuguese Government to launch a Portuguese language campaign. Only 10% of the population of 950.000 speak Portuguese. Tetum, one of the sixteen main dialects spoken in the country, is the other official language of the nation.

5. At a workshop at Hotel Timor yesterday, the Deputy of UNMISET, Sukehiro Hasegawa, had said that he hopes that all vulnerable communities will have the access to clean water. Mr Hasegawa predicted that in the year 2015, all households will have the access to clean water. He said the access to clean water will automatically improve their living standards. (STL did not mention the topic of the workshop).


1. The Opposition Parties proposed a resolution to the Parliament to recognize Mr Francisco Xavier do Amaral as the first President. However the ruling party through its Faction Speaker, Mr Francisco Branco, rejected the Opposition's resolution and said "let the history speak out, not politicians". The National Parliament made its objection clear when the result of a plenary voting session was 38 in favor, 7 objections and 11 abstain. As a result of this vote the Opposition Parties' resolution did not pass.

2. The Timor-Leste's Police Commander, Mr Paulo de Fatima Martins, told Timor Post yesterday at his office that foreign passport holders are not allowed to take part in any political activity in this country. Mr Martins said that he had already given the order to Immigration Police to identify those persons involved in the demonstration during the Independence Day.

3. Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri held a emergency meeting with the former Indonesian civil servants yesterday at his office. During the meeting the Prime Minister said that the Government will not take any decision regarding the former Indonesian civil servants severance pay. According to Mr Alkatiri the Indonesian Government and the United Nations must take responsibility regarding this matter.

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