Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 25 April 2006


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Tuesday 25 April 2006

National Media Reports

Petitioners: Brigadier Taur should explain: “If you want war; we are ready for it”

The 591 F-FDTL petitioners yesterday staged a protest and demanded sovereign bodies of this nation to speed-up the resolution to their claim of discrimination which they insist occurred within the F-FDTL institution. According to reports, at about 09:30 in the morning approximately more than 1,000 protesters marched from Tasi-Tolu to Dili, a distance of about 15 kilometers. The protesters carried various banners, saying: “We want to seek justice and truth,” “Brig. Gen Ruak should declare ‘westerners’ were also involved in the independence struggle,” and “Viva President”. When the demonstrators reached the presidential palace, they presented their declarations to leaders which consisted of 10 items, one of them declaring that the soldiers dismissed by Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak would be ready to die if no solution is found. The Petitioners also demanded an explanation of the Taur’s earlier remark to the petitioners, “If you want war, we’re ready for it.”

Timor Post reported that Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri asked the 591 F-FDTL petitioners via their delegates after they had submitted their demands, that while they carry out their protest, they also maintain a secure atmosphere especially in Dili.

Malaysia invited Timor-Leste authorities Defense Minister, Roque Rodrigues, Commandant F-FDTL Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak and Superintendent PNTL, Paulo de Fatima Martins to view an exhibition on Defense Services Asia (DSA). Fatima said that he could not attend because he is responsible for internal security in the nation, particularly at this sensitive time.

As the demonstration carried on yesterday on the way to the Court of Appeal, there was a minor incident in which two people were wounded and a vendor’s stand was destroyed. The Police and petitioners managed to regain calm. (TP, STL, DN)

Government to provide free education for those in need

The Special Secretary of Oe-cusse, Albino Salem, told media that the district government would start providing free education to those who have finished their study in primary school and have the capacity to continue but lack the financial ability. Salem further stated that they have already begun to identity youth that are not enrolled in secondary school and are encouraging them to return to finish their studies. (DN)

Lu-Olo: National Parliament does not take any stand

The President of the National Parliament, Francisco Lu “Olo” Guterres, has stated that the National Parliament does not take a stand with regards to the protest of the petitioners because the letter that they had submitted to the Parliament through their delegation does not outline their demands but instead relates to Maubere Democratic Party (PDM). The paper reports that Lu “Olo” informed journalists of this issue at an urgent press conference held yesterday, after receiving the letter from the petitioners.

DN reports that UIR police commander and the district police commander yesterday accompanied the delegation to a meeting held behind closed doors. Journalists received no comment in their attempts to confirm reports of the said letter. On the other hand, journalists confirmed with the spokesperson for the petitioners, Salsinha, that the letter had been submitted to the Parliament but that it appears that the letter has been manipulated with the intention to “destroy the action” of the petitioners. “We do not have any letters from PDM”, said Salsinha, “but the letter that we have now was written by myself with one of my colleagues, and we have signed it”. (DN, STL)

Supreme Commandant should suspend Taur Matan Ruak

The spokesperson of the 595 petitioners, Gastão Salsinha, requested the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão to use his power as the President of the Republic as stipulated in article 74 and 75 of the National Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to take immediate steps to suspend Brig. Gen. Taru Matan Ruak for the bad decision he made with regard to the dismissed soldiers.

Lt. Salsinha said if the problems are not resolved, “we will form a commission which will be composed of the four competent sovereign institutions, including the civil society and the intellectual and religious community. We the petitioners, the people and the youths demand justice and truth. We also ask the four sovereign state institutions with the competency to resolve the problems presented by the petitioners as soon as possible, within the five days,” Should there be no solution to the problems presented by the petitioners, then we ourselves would seek for alternative solutions, such as, first of all “ we are ready to go on a strike and will remain here until we receive a response. Secondly, we are ready to die in order to defend justice. Thirdly, we, the petitioners continue to pledge our allegiance to the President of the Republic, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the DRTL” added Salsinha.

“Our petition has been delivered to the four most Sovereign State Institutions, the Government, the Parliament, and the Court of Appeal and these Institutions will talk with the President of the Republic, and then we will hear a result,” said Salsinha.

Responding to the question from a journalist regarding when they plan to hand in their uniforms, Salsinha said that only on the last day of their demonstration will they know whether or not they will hand in their F-FDTL uniforms which are still being worn by all of them. (DN)

Bianco: Government Will Solve Petitioners of F-FDTL’s Problems

Speaking to the media on Monday, Minister of State and Presidency of Council of Ministers, Antoninho Bianco was quoted as saying that the Government would solve petitioners of F-FDTL’s problems, but it should be based on the regulations currently in place.

Bianco added that he indeed participated in yesterday’s meeting which the Prime Minister held with representatives of the petitioners, adding that they did not say anything much but only handed over a document [containing their demands and aspirations].

In addition, Bianco said that it was the first time for Prime Minister to receive the official documents of petitioners, and so far he only followed the issue through media. Moreover, he said that Prime Minister would study the document after which the President of Republic would talk to other organs of State to look into it, and solve the matter.

“Government is ready to accept their aspirations. Presenting aspirations is a normal thing as it has been enshrined in the Constitution that the ordinary citizens have the rights to speak out and present their petitions,” Bianco further said. (DN)

Regional Media Reports

East Timor joins in Anzac services

Tuesday, 25/04/2006 - A special Anzac Day dawn service has been held in Dili, the capital of East Timor. It has commemorated 11 Australian soldiers believed to have died there in 1942. During World War II, Australia's Sparrow Force worked deep in the rugged mountain jungles of East Timor.

Helio Tavares says they conducted guerrilla operations against the Japanese and were supported by the Timorese people. "During World War II the Timorese, supported the Australians, because they didn't want East Timor to be invaded by the Japanese Army," he said. "Throughout the four years of struggle, up to 44,000 Timorese died assisting Australian soldiers. "The Timorese really value that relationship with Australia and we can see it today.

"The Prime Minister addressing the people and saying that Australia is a very important neighbour and a partner in the development of the country." The school of the air in outback Queensland is also getting into the Anzac spirit. A group of students from cattle stations in the Richmond area west of Townsville has spent weeks practising the national anthem to perform for the local Anzac parade. But it has a been a big challenge for the Bush Kids Choir because the practice sessions have been over the phone. (ABC Rural)

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]

These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office

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