Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 23 November 2005
Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources
Daily Media Review
Wednesday, 23rd November 2005
National Media Reports
Lobato: Vemasse incident link to some political parties
Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato is reported to have said that the Vemasse incident, in which a home-made explosive device was allegedly thrown, is linked to some political parties. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday after meeting with the Prime Minister, Lobato said that even though there is not yet any concrete evidence, the people that the police have arrested are affiliated to certain political parties. He said that some people do not want Timor-Leste to be peaceful, and some are trying to obtain power that they do not have. He added that the government will be very vigilant next year, as they have information that some groups are planning to cause trouble in 2006, including through the use of bombs. Lobato emphasized that the police would eventually catch all the groups that are trying to cause trouble in Timor-Leste. (STL)
Police Reserve Unit Arrested 'Isolated' Groups
It is reported that Minister of Interior Rogerio Tiago Lobato reportedly stated on Tuesday that PNTL's Reserve Unit had arrested the 'isolated' groups who have been allegedly living in the forest and conducting a guerrilla insurrection [sic] in the border area of Covalima District. Minister Lobato reportedly declined to announce the total number of the groups that have been arrested by Police Reserve Unit (PRU), adding that PRU used counter-guerrilla methods in arresting the groups whom he suspected of being CPD-RDTL members. Minister Lobato further stated that he would show those who had been arrested to the public through a press conference to be held at the Ministry of Interior today. In addition, Minister Lobato said that apparently the groups had wanted to organize themselves in order to surrender to the authorities and dismantle their networks so that they could [fully] collaborate in the process of Timor-Leste's development. (TP)
Coverage over President Gusmão's Visit to Indonesia
It is reported that President Xanana Gusmão will visit West Timor on 23 until 27 December to celebrate Christmas with Timorese refugees, aiming at strengthening the relationship among Timorese. Speaking to the press on Monday upon his return from the visit to China, President Gusmão stated that he had confirmed the upcoming visit to West Timor with Udayana Military Commander during his stop-over in Bali on his way back to Timor-Leste. Aside from meeting with Udayana Military Commander, President Gusmão also said that he met with Coordinator Minister of Politics and Security, General Widodo while stopping over Jakarta, in which during the talks, they exchanged views as neighboring countries on how to strengthen the relations for now and the future. To realize the program of the visit to West Timor in December, President Gusmão said that he would request PM Mari Alkatiri and Secretary of State for Oecussi, Albano Salem to carry out some activities related to the plan. In addition, President Gusmão said that there would be no need for the provision of heavy security for him during his visit to West Timor since he had made such visits a few times in the past, adding that his visit has not to do with the recent incidents in Passabe, Oe-cussi district, and it has been planned prior to the incidents.. (STL, TP and DT)
Inspector-General da Cruz: Public Servant Suspected of Corruption
It is reported that Inspector General Mariano Lopes da Cruz has revealed that a public servant is suspected of corruption, and that the case is currently with the Prosecutor-General. Speaking after participating in a workshop about transparency in the public service, da Cruz explained that it is up to the Prosecutor-General whether the case is taken to court, and that his (the Inspector General's) responsibility is to audit corruption within the government. He asked the Prosecutor-General to make the public aware of the case if it does go to court, so that the public may know the work that these institutions have been doing to confront corruption. (TP)
MP Menezes: Opposition suspicious of political compromise on Timor Sea exploration
Spokesperson for the Democratic Party (PD) in the National Parliament Rui Menezes has said that he is suspicious that Timor-Leste's leaders made a political compromise with Australia before 1999, with the result that they must now fulfil this compromise by doing what Australia wants in exploring the oil and gas in the Timor Sea. He said that if there has been such a compromise, it is important that the people know about it, rather than pushing the people to agree with the government's policy on the issue. He added if this is the case, it is a misguided policy, as the wealth of this country belongs to all citizens of Timor-Leste and not just one group of people. (TP, DT, STL)
Saldanha: Opposition's Demand on Timor Sea Is Relevant
Timorese political and economic analyst, João Mariano Saldanha had been reportedly quoted as saying that the recent demands of opposition political parties (ASDT, PD and PSD) in requesting the Government to stop the exploration of oil in Bayu Undan and the negotiation on Greater Sunrise is relevant since they also have the same political interest in how to settle the matter soon and there is no need to rush in making decisions. However, Saldanha said, the opposition parties also need to present qualified programs related to Timor Sea that the problems between Timor-Leste and Australia will be tackled further and a good solution will be found. Moreover, Saldanha said, the fact that President of Republic has requested the opposition parties to present their programs on Timor Sea is a good thing for all Timorese, adding that the President can talk to the Prime Minister and the opposition parties in order to find good solutions for the matter. (TP)
MP Ximenes Questioned the Outcome of Lecidere fruit vendors' Case
It is reported that during the plenary session on Tuesday, MP Antonio Ximenes raised his concerns over the outcome of the Lecidere fruit vendors' case. Ximenes particularly questioned the role played by Secretary of State for Region III, National Parliament, the President of Court of Appeal and Prime Minister in tackling the matter since the report of the case had been submitted to the mentioned authorities. Until now, Ximenes explained, the vendors have kept coming to the Parliament to demand for the solution of the case. Besides, Ximenes also requested MP Cipriana Pereira of Fretilin representing Dili district to look into the case since she was the one who accompanied the vendors when they had the meeting with Prime Minister to find a solution to the matter a few months ago. (TP)
Editorial: UN, Justice and Timor-Leste
The United Nations gave the opportunity to Timor-Leste to choose its own destiny via the referendum held on 30 August 1999, after many years of silence to the cries of the colonized Timorese. It was the UN also that mistakenly believed in Indonesia to guarantee security before, during and after the referendum, according to the 5th of May Agreement, which was like feeding a baby bird to the hungry, wild cat which was Indonesia. When the UN returned to Timor-Leste in September 1999, they were met with scattered bones and blackened houses. To please the Timorese, the UN promised that it would bring to justice those responsible for this criminal behaviour. UNTAET established a Serious Crimes Unit to investigate and then prosecute those accused of the 1999 crimes. However, although the UN presented a list of names of Indonesian generals and militia chiefs responsible for the violence, none of the principle perpetrators of the violence have been brought to justice. CivPol only arrested the small-time militia members on their return to Timor-Leste, while the UN spent money and left behind a heavy burden for the Timorese state. Even the 4 December 2002 incident, in which some people died, some were injured, and houses and buildings were burnt, has not yet been resolved, with the UN once again just producing pages of reports on the case. (DT)
TVTL News Monitoring
Integrity Workshop in Ministry of Education: Armindo Maia, Minister of Education, reported that transparency and integrity of public service in civil servants is very important. Mariano Lopes, Inspector General also stated that transparency in the public service requires attention in each office, as civil servants serve all people in the country. In regarding to corruption, collusion and nepotism, Lopes stated that in the public service, some issues have to be transparent but some issues have to confidential if related to the classified state matters.
High Taxes for investors: Antonio Cardoso, Fretilin MP, was reported on TVTL as saying that the price of taxes for investors is so high that it will impact on the potential investment in Timor Leste. Maria Paixão PSD MP also said that Timor-Leste investors should be evaluate and have access to projects.
District information: PNTL reportedly said that the case of a member of F-FDTL accused of sexual abuse against a 15 years old female in Suco Dato, Sub District Bazartete, District Liquisa on 19 November 2005 had been submitted to the court.
Regional Media Reports
U.S. Restores Military Ties With Indonesia
The United States has lifted an arms embargo against Indonesia, ending a six-year ban on military aid to the world's most populous Muslim nation imposed due to human rights concerns. The Bush administration has long argued that isolating Indonesia, which has been hit by several bombings by al-Qaida linked terrorists in recent years, was not in Washington's strategic interests. The decision, announced Tuesday in Washington, drew immediate criticism from rights groups. ``President Bush betrayed the untold tens of thousands of victims of the Indonesian military's brutality in Indonesia and East Timor,'' said John Miller, from the East Timor and Indonesia Action Network. Congress cut ties with Indonesia's military in 1999 after it was accused of taking part in violence in East Timor during that territory's break from Indonesia's rule in a U.N.-sponsored referendum. Limited ties had been restored under the Bush administration, but the Indonesian government had long lobbied for the removal of all restrictions.
The State Department used a national security waiver to remove the restrictions, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said in a statement. ``The administration considers the relationship between the United States and Indonesia, the world's third largest democracy, to be of the utmost importance,'' he said. He said that the administration planned to help modernize the Indonesian military and support U.S. and Indonesian security objectives, including counterterrorism, but that Washington ``remained committed to pressing for accountability for past human rights abuses.''
The Bush administration has argued that the ban should be lifted to help build Indonesia into a bulwark against al-Qaida infiltration in Southeast Asia, where the Jemaah Islamiyah terror group has launched several terror attacks in the region. Indonesia's underfunded military has long been accused of human rights violations in the course of putting down separatist insurgencies in far flung regions of the sprawling archipelago. (AP)
Community: CPLP officials hold cooperation meetings in Praia and Sao Tome
Ministers and officials from the eight- nation Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries (CPLP) begin meetings Tuesday in Cape Verde and Sao Tome and Principe to discuss increased cooperation in the areas of justice and immigration. CPLP justice ministers hold talks in the Cape Verdean capital, Cidade da Praia, for two days through Wednesday.
On his arrival in Praia Monday night, Portuguese Justice Minister Alberto Costa told Lusa the gathering was "important" because it would seek to "deepen cooperation and the instruments of justice" among Lusophone nations that share "a great common legal heritage". Also on Tuesday, directors of immigration and border services from the CPLP states begin three days of discussions in Sao Tome.
A communiqué from the Sao Tomean Foreign Ministry said the meeting would center on analyzing the status of migration flows and cooperation between the various CPLP services and on the exchange of experiences. The Lisbon-headquartered CPLP binds Portugal and Brazil to Lisbon's five former African territories and East Timor. (Lusa)
Foreign troop commitment grows
From a peak of more than 5000 troops in East Timor in 1999, Australia's military contribution to its newest neighbour has fallen to just three people. As troop numbers in East Timor have fallen, those in Afghanistan have soared and could soon exceed 400. In a briefing on Australian Defence Force global operations, head of defence PR Brigadier Mick Moon said there 1600 defence personnel were serving in trouble spots around the world. At the height of the INTERFET operation in late 1999, there were more than 5000 Australian troops in East Timor. Brigadier Moon said the small number there now was a sign of progress in the country. There are now 200 members of a special forces task group operating in southern Afghanistan. The Government is also considering deploying a reconstruction team, possibly around 200 people, to conduct engineering and infrastructure work in Afghanistan. A 140-member medical team has recently arrived in remote northern Pakistan to assist the victims of the earthquake. (The Daily Telegraph)
China wants next UN chief to be Asian
BEIJING- China wants an Asian to succeed Kofi Annan as U.N. Secretary-General when his term runs out next year, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday. Declared candidates to date include Thai Deputy Prime Minister Surakiart Sathirathai, currently visiting Beijing, and Sri Lankan peace negotiator Jayantha Dhanapala. "Asian people haven't taken the important post for 34 years and Asia is the most populous continent," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news conference, referring to U Thant of Burma, now Myanmar, who served from 1961 until 1971. "We think the next secretary-general should be picked from Asian nations."
Those who have expressed interest in the job also include South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-Moon and East Timor Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs Jose Ramos-Horta. No formal rotation system exists among the world's continents, but U.N. members generally agree the next secretary-general should come from Asia.
The U.N. secretary-general is appointed by the 191-nation General Assembly on the recommendation of the Security Council, where a candidate needs the approval of nine of the 15 members and can be vetoed by any of the five permanent member states. China is one of the five and another permanent member, Russia, has said it will back an Asian, but American ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton has said it is looking not only in Asia for Annan's successor. Outgoing Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski has also indicated he might run for the job. (Reuters)
Brazil vows to slow reduce HIV transmission to newborns
BRASILIA -Brazil pledged on Tuesday to reduce the rate at which HIV positive mothers transmit the virus to their newborns to just 1 percent by 2008. The Health Ministry, backed by UNICEF, announced it would provide 50,000 free AIDS tests to pregnant women and adolescents in the poorest regions of the country starting in 2006. Last year, 75 percent of Brazil's pregnant women were tested for AIDS and the additional tests should largely close the gap. The ministry said early diagnosis of HIV, the virus which causes AIDS, can allow treatments that avoid transmission to the baby in 99 percent of cases. The ministry estimates that 600,000 of Brazil's 183 million people are HIV positive, with about 21,000 of them children or teenagers. It said that about 9,000 of those were infected by their mothers. Across Latin America and the Caribbean, about 740,000 people between the ages of 15 and 24 are infected with HIV, according to UNICEF. ``In spite of the alarming numbers, the policies to combat the epidemic haven't given priority to issue of children. Children are rarely mentioned when AIDS is discussed,'' UNICEF representative Marie Pierre Poirier told reporters in Brasilia. The effort is part of campaign which will also include education and expanded access to anti-AIDS drugs in Bolivia, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Paraguay, Sao Tome and Principe and East Timor. (AP)
National News Sources
Timor Post (TP)
These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office