Subject: Timor-Leste Local Media Monitoring March 31, 2004

Timor-Leste International and Local Media Monitoring March 31, 2004

STL

Motion presented by Fretilin related to bribe allegations

National Parliament members from Fretilin presented a motion (yesterday) during a plenary session that was adopted and will be sent to the Prosecutor General. It asks for an investigation into the alleged bribery by ConocoPhillips to the Prime Minister and Members of the National Parliament. A member of the National Parliament for Fretilin, Francisco Miranda Branco, said that the motion was passed and now those who have gone to the media and said that they have proof can present the evidence to the Prosecutor General.

A fair deal for East Timor

(source of the article does not explain - just says Canberra) If Australia and East Timor cannot agree on a maritime boundary, let the court decide. East Timor's viability as a nation depends in large part upon its ability to exploit limited resources. Despite massive international aid efforts since the departing Indonesian military and anti-independence militias laid waste to 70 percent of the island's infrastructure, the East Timorese economy remains fragile. Its limited agricultural base aside, the one bright spot on the economic horizon for the world's newest nation lies deep beneath the Timor Sea. The oil and natural gas reserves of the surrounding waters represent the future prosperity of this tiny country. Those resources also represent the point at which Australian and East Timorese interests collide. Australia is well aware of the worth of the oil and gas riches in the Timor Sea. It should not be forgotten that when Australia recognized Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor, it took the dubious course of entering into an agreement top develop a "zone of cooperation" with Indonesia for the exploration of those resources, without any reference to the wishes of the East Timorese people. A final delineation of the maritime boundary between Australia and East Timor will determine which nation controls those assets.

More suspects detained in relation to youth death

The National police Commissioner, Paulo de Fatima Martins, said that the police have detained three more people in connection with the death of Jose Conio Fernandes Xavier, whose body was found in Dili stadium last Wednesday. Mr Martins said that police believed that ten other people were involved in the killing of Xavier.

TNI will close border during elections

According to the article the Indonesian authorities will close the border between Timor-Leste and Indonesia at Kefamananu (Atambua, West Timor) and Pasabe (Oe-cussi) due to the upcoming Indonesian general election in April.

Portuguese language is important for TL

A teacher at the Faculty of Science for Teacher Education at the University of Timor-Leste (UNTL), Nuno da Silva Gomes, said that it is important for everyone to learn the Portuguese language, because the Constitution of Timor-Leste states Portuguese as the official language. He said that the official language is not only for the students but also for the teachers.

Timor Post

The flame for reconciliation cannot die, says Xanana

During the closing ceremony for the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (CAVR) the President, Xanana Gusmão, said that the program has come to an end, but that we should not allow the reconciliation flame burn out. He said that this the flame of reconciliation, or the flame of peace, has given the independence to Timor-Leste. President Gusmão said that the flame of reconciliation has to continue as if it was the guiding light for our children, and it cannot be allowed to die.

Return Government assets or face justice, says Ana Pessoa

A press release put out by the office of the Minister of State, Ana Pessoa, and published on today's edition says that if the employees from the Community Empowerment Project (CEP) do not return the Government assets in 24 hours, they will face penal code article number 347. The press release says these employees are guilty of "embezzlement". The press release includes a long list of names of people who still have government assets (cars, motorbikes) in their possession.

Government accused of robbing East Timor

(Source unmentioned however it appears to be from Australia Media) The Democrats say, by signing the new East Timor gas deal, the Federal Government is helping itself to resources that potentially belong to the poorest nation in the region. Australia will receive about 80 per cent of the revenue from the Greater Sunrise Gas Field, worth 8.5 billion dollars a year, while East timor will only get 20 percent under the deal. The Democrats' foreign affairs spokeswoman, Natasha Stott-Despoja, says the deal marks a bad day in the relationship between the two countries. "I fear that it has damage our relationship. I fear that it's had an impact on the goodwill ? especially for a nation that played a constructive and positive role in assisting East Timor to eventually attain independence. I think we've jettisoned a lot of that good-will by acting as bullies and, indeed, bushrangers for oil." The Greens leader, Senator Bob Brown, says it's one of the most despicable pieces of legislation the Australian government could ever approve. "To be robbing the poorest nation in our neighborhood to line the pockets of the richest nation of 8 billion of royalties over the next three decades is a terrible moment in Australian politics."

Jose Filipe External Affairs World Bank, Dili Office


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