Subject: UNOTIL's Daily Media Review 18 January 2006

UNOTIL

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Wednesday, 18 January 2006

National Media Reports

Timorese Facing Problems at Border, More PNTL To Be Stationed At Border and Community Working Together with PNTL At Border

The President of the National Parliament, 'Lu'Olo' Guterres said the Foreign Ministry must investigate further to find out why Timor-Leste citizens are being stopped from legally entering Atambua and then take up the issue with Indonesia. "I think we must take a cautious decision on how the Indonesian Government can reply to us regarding this border problem," Lu'Olo said. "But, we must follow the conventions and international laws that Timor-Leste, as an independent nation, has already ratified. I think Indonesia will also respect these legalities," he added. In regard to the burning of the Timor-Leste flag, Guterres commented that it is a very serious matter and that he has received information saying that the Indonesian Government is not carrying out an investigation to find out who is responsible for the act. He said Timor-Leste is waiting for an Indonesian Government-led investigation to find out what measures will be taken.

Timor Post also reported in a separate article that around 275 newly- recruited police officers will be stationed at the border to strengthen security there. Speaking to the media on Tuesday, PNTL commander, Paulo Martins, praised the work of the UPF saying that although they are limited, they are enthusiastic about maintaining a secure border. Martins added that the situation at the border is back to normal and under control. Responding to reports of hold-ups of vehicles at the border by former militias, Paulo Martins suggested that the question be raised with the Indonesian Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Ahmed Bey Sofwan. In a separate report, the commander of Unidade Policia Protesaun Komunitaria (Community Protection Unit Police), João Belo, said they have been working closely with the community which has resulted in a decrease in crime along the border. He added that his men together with the UPF have urged the population living along the border not to cross over even to herd back their animals that have strayed across the border. (TP)

Women Living Along the Border Organize Security

The Head of Organização Popular Mulheres Timor (OPMT) for Bobonaro District, Fatima Vaz has organized a gathering of all the women living on the border in that area to participate in the popular security initiative to prevent further problems from taking place at the border. Vaz said that the idea was born out of a need to address the constant problems that occur in Bobonaro District. She added it is time for women to be active again as they had been during the 24 year struggle. Fatima Vaz said that her initiative was especially in response to troubled areas like Atabae, where former militias frequently carry out their activities. " I ask the international and national NGOs to support the activities of the women on the border in regards to popular security," Vaz pleaded.

TL and UNICEF Launch Action Plan for 2006/07

The Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) on Tuesday launched the Country Action Plan Program for 2006/07. The program worth 15 million USD will, for a period of two years, focus on issues such that pertain to health, nutrition, sanitation, basic education, children protection, advocacy, adolescents and prevention of HIV/AIDS, planning, monitoring and evaluation of the funds. UNICEF Director, Shui-Meng Ng and the Vice-Minister of Planning and Finance, Aicha Bassarewa, signed the agreement. Present at the event were Prime Minister Alkatiri, SRSG Sukehiro Hasegawa, members of the Government, National Parliament, and the diplomatic corps. The Prime Minister told the media that the Government is certain that the program will be a success based on the experience of the last four years. He said that there now exists resources as well as political will to better the nation and that the process should start with the children. Alkatiri said that many children in Dili are working and not attending school and he urged parents to take responsibility for their children's schooling. He emphasized that parents should have less children so that they are able to support their children's education. He also pointed out that public school is free so there is no reason for children not to attend school. The Director of UNICEF Sui Meng Ng thanked the Prime Minister for making children a priority and the main focus of development and for giving UNICEF the opportunity to work in Timor-Leste. (TP, DN)

Former Indonesian Public Servants Entitled to Benefit

The Indonesian government will pay former public servants, including police and military that contributed to the pension funds/program. Minister of Community Reinsertion, Arsenio Bano, told the media, "The process to pay former Indonesian public servants is ready and the Timor-Leste government wants to complete this process soon, but we are waiting on the Indonesian Government to sign the MoU which we already have, that's on the political level." Bano added that there are no problems paying the former public servants and as soon as the Memorandum of Understanding is signed, payment will begin in February 2006. (DNP/STL)

Regional Media Reports

Annan urges all nations to prepare for influenza pandemic

BEIJING (DPA): UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday urged all governments to prepare for a possible avian influenza pandemic, saying he had asked all United Nations agencies to make similar preparations.

Annan said he had asked the UN bodies to be ready "so that we can sustain vital support" in the event of a pandemic.

"I encourage all governments to do the same," he said in a speech broadcast to a donors' conference being held in Beijing that aims to secure funding to help poor countries cope with the economic impact of bird flu.

"There is no time to waste, let's ensure that we are ready," Annan told the conference, which he said was held at a "crucial time" in the fight against bird flu.

Worldwide, 80 people have died from H5N1, according to WHO. At least 12 were in Indonesia, five were in China and therest were in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Turkey. World Health Organization (WHO) experts have warned that the H5N1 bird flu virus could mutate into a form that spreads rapidly among humans.

China, the European Union, World Bank and other organizers said they hope to see pledges of financial aid totalling more than 1 billion dollars at the conference.

"Today action will speak louder than words," EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said.

Kyprianou said the pledges of donations were "not just charity... but a global self-defence against bird flu", adding that the virus persented a "new challenge to humanity."

"We don't know when this pandemic will take place, but that is no reason for not preparing for it," he said. "The avian influenza threat is not going to go away soon."

WHO Director-General Lee Jong-Wook said the WHO had developed a strategy for improving monitoring and control of bird flu over the next two years.

"Each new case and each new outbreak is a chance to fine-tune the approach," Lee said. "We have to reduce people's exposure to the virus."

The World Bank will provide US$500 billion in "global adaptable programme loans" for fighting bird flu, World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz said in a speech broadcast at the conference.

The bank estimates that at least $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion will be needed over the next three years to combat bird flu. Before the conference, the European Union pledged $97 million to help poor countries with the impact of the virus.

Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday told the conference that China would donate $10 million. (DPA/The Jakarta Post)

'Timorese losers in Australian gas deal'

A deal signed last week between East Timor and Australia to share billions of dollars in revenue from Timor Sea oil and gas deposits has short-changed Asia's poorest country, a rights group said Monday.

The agreement divides revenues from the Greater Sunrise field between the two countries equally and delays finalising their maritime border for 50 years, by which time reserves may be exhausted.

The US-based East Timor and Indonesian Action Network (ETAN) said international law experts believed that as the field and others covered by the deal are closer to East Timor's coast than Australia's, they should belong to the tiny nation and it should receive all revenue.

The agreement "prolongs Australia's refusal to recognise the sovereign rights of the people of Timor-Leste (East Timor)," the group charged. "Although the government of Timor-Leste is temporarily acceding to this occupation, ETAN joins with many in Timor-Leste in the belief that the struggle for independence remains incomplete without definitive boundaries accepted by their neighbors," the group said in a statement.

East Timor has been locked in a struggle with its huge southern neighbour over the resource revenues since it gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.

The dispute blew up when Australia insisted that a 1970s Timor Sea boundary agreed with Jakarta should remain in place after independence and refused to negotiate the dispute at the International Court of Justice.

The 1970s boundary would have given Australia two thirds of the maritime territory and 80 percent of the Sunrise field, whereas East Timor wanted the maritime boundary to be the midpoint between the two countries.

East Timor has boosted its share of the field to half under the deal "but it has given up other potentially lucrative areas being explored now or in the near future," ETAN said.

East Timor's Prime Minister, Mari Alkatari, welcomed the deal last week, saying it paved the way for East Timor to develop its own petroleum processing industry.

Oil companies which had deferred the Greater Sunrise project because of the two governments' squabbling over the boundary, said they were studying the text of the deal before resuming work on the project. (AFP, JAKARTA)

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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