Subject: Timor-Leste Local Media Monitoring Feb 18, 2004

Timor-Leste International and Local Media Monitoring Feb 18, 2004


President and Foreign Minister Denied Meeting With Wiranto

President Xanana Gusmão and Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta have denied the allegation that they had recently met former Indonesian Minister of Defense, General Wiranto, in Bali, together with Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro. Interviewed by Timor Post, President Gusmão commented on the contents of a press communiqué issued on Monday by an international NGO, the East Timor Alliance for an International Tribunal. The media release said the meeting had taken place, following the announcement by the Serious Crimes Unit (SCU), of the General's indictment for crimes against humanity. The Alliance media release said it had received "reliable information" that on 31 January or 1 February 2004, that Gusmão, Ramos-Horta and Longuinhos Monteiro held "secret talks" with Wiranto, and that "partial reports" of the meeting have appeared in Australian, Portuguese and American newspapers. According to the NGO, it was the second time Xanana and Wiranto had met "to discuss reconciliation." In a statement issued by his office on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Ramos Horta said he had not met Wiranto and "have no plan to meet the gentleman". Ramos Horta added that the only time he met Wiranto was in June 1999, before the referendum and in October 1999, and that both meetings were official and public.

Fined when late for school

The School Director of SMAN 2 in Baucau, Carlos de Jesus Freitas, said that the school board had adopted a regulation to penalize students who are late for school with an amount of $USD 1.50. He said that the regulation was well received by the students and the number of attendees had doubled.

USD 8,4 million available for Health, says Araujo

The Minister of Health, Dr Rui Maria de Araujo, said that USD$ 8.4 million dollars finance by TFET, and administered by the World Bank, can be used by the Health Department on the development of infrastructure. He said that one of the important areas for his Ministry is to build clinics in remote areas for both specialist doctors and general practitioners to be able to work. Dr Araujo said that the Government of Timor-Leste will still need support from international staff advisors mainly in management, policy development and legislation.

Power for 24 hours if consumers pay on time

The Director of the EDTL, Virgilio Guterres, said that if all the electricity consumers pay their bills on time then power can stay on 24 hours a day. He said that because the consumers are not paying their bills, the Government finds it hard to maintain the supply of diesel. Mr Guterres said that the budget allocated by the Government to the EDTL is not enough to maintain the operation costs.

Army apologizes over Timor error

The Australian Army admitted it made mistakes in investigating the case of a senior Special Air Service (SAS) soldier accused of kicking the corpses of two militiamen shot dead in East Timor in 1999. An apology has been made to the unnamed Australian soldier. The soldier was charged following a protracted defence investigation into allegations of misconduct by Australian SAS troops during operations in East Timor in October 1999. The allegation related to a militia ambush on an Australian vehicle convoy near the town of Suai in which two SAS soldiers were wounded, two militia were shot dead, and others captured. The investigation focused on whether a militia member was killed in an execution-style shooting, whether there was abuse of the corpses of two militia who died, and whether militia were beaten or mistreated during interrogation by SAS members. Army Chief Lieutenant General Peter Leahy said these were serious allegations but that the Australian SAS soldier was found not guilty on all charges.

Timor Post

Needs clarification on Timor Sea revenue

A Member of the National Parliament, Rui Meneses, said that revenues from the Timor Sea are vital for this country but the Parliament needs Government clarification about the management of the Timor Sea, who is the beneficiary, and where the account is held. He said that this information was not clear when he read the report done by the International Auditor Ernst and Young. Mr Meneses said that people want to know where the money is deposited and who are the signatories. He said that the report presented by Ernst and Young, shows that the royalty deposit of USD$ 0.07 million earns less than 1% per annum.

Old cars cannot be imported, says Moreira

The Vice-Minister of Telecommunication, Transport and Public Works, Cesar Vital Moreira, said that the Government has taken a decision to ban the importation of cars manufactured before 1993 to reduce the number of vehicles, and to protect the environment. Mr Moreira said that the number of vehicles circulating in Timor are closed to 25,000. 80% of those are legal, while 20% were imported illegally and no duty has been paid. He said that the 80% are the ones circulating in the capital Dili. Mr Moreira said that due to the high numbers of cars on the roads, the Government took also a decision not to allow anymore registration of taxis and microlets.

Jakarta reiterates threat to deploy troops on disputed island

Indonesia will send troops to an uninhabited island whose ownership it disputes with East Timor, the Antara news agency has reported. The Indonesain military commander for West Timor, Major General Supiadin, was cited by Antara Monday saying, "the troops will really be sent". Jakarta officials indicated they were considering a permanent troop deployment to the island. The East Timor Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, had described Indonesia's combined sea, land and air show of military muscle as illegal, as the small island was an integral part of Timor under international law. A senior Indonesian officer said this week "until now, we have not stationed any personnel on the island as there have been no threats. We are not concerned. It is they (the Timorese) who are worried". Asked to comment on the lasted development in the territorial dispute, the Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, told Lusa: "As Fatu Sinai is our, any Indonesian activity that occurs there is a provocation'.

Grasshoppers destroyed corn fields in Atauro

A Member of the National Parliament, Maria Paixao, said that people in the Sub-District of Atauro are facing starvation because grasshoppers have destroyed their corn fields. She said that people in Atauro are waiting for the Department of Agriculture to find a quick solution to combat the grasshoppers.

400 children in Babore have no access to education

A member of the National Parliament, Pedro da Costa, said that 400 children from the Suco Laline in the Sub-District of Lacluta, District of Viqueque, does not have access to education because there is no school building. He said that the 200 families in the village of Laline have pleaded for an urgent attention from the Government to allow their children access to education.

82 hectares of rice paddies without irrigation

The head of the Village in Vemassi taci, Sub-District of Baucau, Carlos Freitas, said that it has been three years since the people in Vemasse have had irrigation for their 82 hectares of rice fields. He said that to complicate their lives, heavy rain has also destroyed 10 hectares of rice paddies. Mr Freitas said that the people at Vemassi have requested and pleaded with the President of the National Parliament, the President, and the Government for help but they still wait.

Credit from BNU to help develop the economy

The President of the Commission C from the National Parliament, Francisco Kalbuadi Lay, said that he congratulates the Portuguese Bank (BNU) in Timor-Leste for giving credit to people who want to start businesses. He said that since September 2003, the economy had picked up between 40 to 50%. Mr Lay said that BNU knows the risks in lending money, but importantly it is giving credit to poor people to help develop the country's economy.

Jose Filipe External Affairs World Bank, Dili Office Ph: 723 0554 Tel: 332 4649 Email:

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