Subject: UNOTIL's Daily Media Review 15 Dec 2005

[Poster's note: Long repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list (info@etan.org) have been removed.]

UNOTIL

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Thursday, 15 December 2005

National Media Reports

Horta: Government not critical of Church's position

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos Horta has said that the government is not critical of the Church for writing a letter to the UN Secretary-General regarding an International Tribunal. However it is the government that has the right to implement its policy regarding this issue. In a special interview on Wednesday, Minister Horta reiterated to TP that the government does not support the establishment of an International Tribunal, as the government does not believe that only an International Tribunal can provide justice, and it has seen that such tribunals in other parts of the world have spent a lot of money, but not achieved anything. He said that the letter from the Timor-Leste Catholic Church to the UN Secretary-General does not impact upon the government's policy regarding the TFC. Asked whether the government plans on disseminating the Terms of Reference of the Commission to the general community so that they may understand it better, Horta replied that the TFC Commissioners plan to conduct a programme of dissemination in Dili and Suai in January 2006, in which it is planned will also involve the Indonesian TFC Commissioners. He also said that the Commissioners are not receiving a salary but an honorary payment, as they are not in permanent positions so the payments that they are receiving cannot be considered a salary. When asked his opinion on complaints that the government is spending a lot of money on the Commission but does not care to assist the people themselves in their everyday lives, Horta replied that those people should first find out the facts of the amount of money that the government is spending on the Commission (US $500 000), before saying such things. (TP)

Martinho: No reconciliation without acknowledgement of wrongdoing

Director of the Peace and Justice Commission for the Baucau Diocese, Father Martinho Gusmao, has questioned whom reconciliation is supposed to be conducted with, because as Indonesia refuses to recognise its wrongdoing, reconciliation and peace is impossible. He said that Fretilin is more concerned with defending the TFC than defending the truth, and that it is not possible for there to be forgiveness or pardon if Indonesia refuses to recognise its wrongdoing. (TP)

Pinto: Establishment of TFC a political decision

The decision to establish the Truth and Friendship Commission is a political decision reached by the Timor-Leste government, National Parliament and President. Speaking to TP on Wednesday, political and military analyst Julio Tomas Pinto said that in any newly established country there is bound to be some discrepancy between government policy and the aspirations of society. He also said that many people are still confused about the function of the CAVR, as its findings and recommendations have not yet been published. (TP)

Amaral: Abuse of authority has undermined image of judiciary

Leader of the KOTA faction in the National Parliament Clementino dos Reis Amaral has said that the case of abuse of authority involving the Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro has undermined the image of the Prosecution in the eyes of the community. "The Dili District Prosecution must be accountable for goods seized and returned to the rightful owner in accordance with the decision of the Court of Appeal", Amaral told journalists on Wednesday. He expressed his disappointment in the actions of the Prosecution in deliberately and in an organised fashion seizing another's property. (STL)

Horta Concerns with 2007 Elections

In an interview with Diario Tempo the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and the President of Peace and Democracy Foundation, José Ramos-Horta said he is concerned with the upcoming elections in 2007. "I think there would be tensions in the 2007 elections due to many factors, therefore the foundation's concern starting today with the voting in the sub-districts, is to avoid tensions that might lead to violence," Ramos-Horta said, noting that if any violence occurs it would damage Timor-Leste's good reputation built since 1999 to date. "This is a small organisation and it cannot perform miracles to solve all the problems but would count with all its members in Timor-Leste who have received mediation training to help resolve any conflict within their community," Ramos-Horta added. The Minister emphasised that the Timorese people lived for decades under violence and oppression and only found freedom through the 1999 voting. Ramos-Horta said, "the roots of peace in Timor-Leste are still not secure, it still is fragile. Although the roots are long, in reality it has shown that peace is already embedded among us". The Peace and Democracy Foundation held a three-day mediation workshop for its members in Dili from 8-11 December. He appealed to the foundation to work harder and closer with communities, civil society and the church to help the Government promote a culture of peace and democracy in Timor-Leste and not violence. (Diario Tempo)

Babo: 40 members of OSNACO were arrested

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Deputy Commander of PNTL in charge of Operations Inspector Ismail Babo had been reportedly confirming that at least 40 OSNACO members, including its leader, Marcus Ruin Falur were arrested on Tuesday by PNTL during a joint operation, adding that the arrest was conducted because their presence is considered to have created unrest for the local population in Turiscai, Ainaro District. According to Babo, the joint operation involved Ainaro Police Task Force, Police Reserve Unit, national intelligence unit and some units from PNTL Headquarters. "The operation conducted was also based on the information that the OSNACO group owns fire arms. We then carried out the house search", Babo said. However, he said that the result of the search showed that no firearms were found. It is reported that those 40 OSNACO members including its leader are currently detained in PNTL's cell for investigation, and they will be later brought to court. OSNACO is a mass organisation, founded after Timor-Leste was separated from Indonesia through 30 August 1999 referendum. From the very beginning, the activities of the group were seen as worrying with regards to the security and stability of the country. (STL, RTTL)

MP Branco and Isaac: Horta's statement represents dictatorship and anti-democracy

Reports of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Ramos Horta's public statement declaring that members of Timor-Leste civil society who do not agree with the Truth and Friendship Commission (TFC) have the right to their opinions but do not have any moral authority to criticize President Xanana Gusmão has received pros and cons from various levels of community members, Timor Post reported. MP Francisco Branco and Leandro Isaac told media that as a democratic country, everyone has the right, as written in the constitution, to intervene and criticise anybody in the country. MP Isaac further added that "if President Gusmão should be not criticised because of CTF/TFC it would mean that there is a will to create dictatorship in Timor-Leste." Meanwhile, MP Lucia Lobato of PSD told Timor Post that Minister Horta's statement is an anti-democracy statement because it scares the population to criticise Timor-Leste leadership whenever there is a wrong doing committed by the leadership in this country." When asked about President Gusmão's contribution to the Independence of Timor-Leste, Ms Lobato responded by saying, "It's an irrational comparison", and argued that civil society also contributed to the independence of Timor-Leste by supporting President Gusmão's fight for independence, otherwise independence would never have been reached. Another Timor-Leste's daily quoted MP Lobato as saying, "President Gusmão is not GOD to conduct everything correctly, and that he should be adored everyday". She added that it is normal in any democratic country for people to criticise President (Xanana Gusmão), Prime Minister (Mari Alkatiri), Minister of Foreign Affairs (Jose Ramos Horta) or members of parliament. (TP, STL, 1)

Bano: 24 years former combatants will receive a subsidy of USD100 - USD123

Government of Timor-Leste through the Ministry of Labour and Community Reinsertion has prepared a plan to provide subsidies to 36 former combatants/veterans for 24 years in the range of USD100 to USD123, equal to government employees at levels II and III, reported Jornal Nacional Diario. According to an interview with Minister Arsenio Bano, it was confirmed that the Council Minister has approved a bill on veterans called subsidy of valorisation of veterans on December 6. Minister Bano also confirmed that his ministry has cooperated with F-FDTL Chief of Staff, and Colonel Lere Annan's Timor office to acquire data on the referred veterans. When asked about the length of the programme, Minister Bano confirmed that the programme would be running for a year with a total budget of USD51,267.84 for the first phase of the programme which started on November 1st. When asked about the specification of the amount one deserves, it was clarified that those who served as commanders will receive a subsidy USD123 while ordinary soldiers will be given USD100. (JND)

TVTL News Headlines - 14/12/05

Community members remain at F-FDTL's compound: TVTL reported that some of the villagers from Loidua village, who took refuge at the F-FDTL headquarters in Baucau, still remain in the compound. The community members moved to the military compound following an incident in their village, allegedly instigated by a land dispute between the populations. The Operational Commander of PNTL, Inspector Ismail Babo reportedly told TVTL that police officers in Baucau District were in contact with the F-FDTL leader there to find a solution.

38 arrested in Turiscai, Manufahi : Meanwhile, Inspector Babo also informed TVTL that his institution had captured some 38 members of Orsenaco Mindelo group on Tuesday. Those captured, including ten women, along with some military equipment such as uniforms, radios and documents, were taken into custody for reportedly carrying out military activities in the area.

Castro pledges continue support: In a meeting with the visiting Timorese Premier, Mari Alkatiri, President Fidel Castro of Cuba pledged to continue his country's support to Timor-Leste. During the seven-hour long meeting in which health and education issues were discussed, President Castro reportedly assured Prime Minister Alkatiri that Cuba would send more medical doctors to Timor-Leste. Meanwhile, on the last day of his visit, Alkatiri is scheduled to meet the 227 Timorese students who are currently studying medicine in Cuba.

PNTL appeals to population not to use fireworks: In the days leading up to Christmas and the New Year, the National Police Force through its Operational Commander, Inspector Ismail Babo, has reportedly appealed to the people of Timor-Leste to not use fireworks. The police also appealed to those who set their Christmas trees near the main road, as well as those who consume alcohol during the celebration, to be careful so as not to cause any public disruption and to avoid any casualties.

Government held tourism workshop: The government, through the Directorate of Tourism, held a workshop to discuss the sustainability of tourism development in Timor-Leste. Miguel Lobato, Director of Tourism, told TVTL that the workshop was held to discuss tourism policy as well as to set guidelines and a strategy for tourism development in the country. One of the speakers at the workshop, Jose A. Cotta, meanwhile, stated that Timor-Leste has the potential to develop tourism but that it requires proper policy.

National News Sources

Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional Seminario Lia Foun (LF) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]-


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