Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 4 July 2006
Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources
Daily Media Review Tuesday, 04 July 2006
National Media Reports
Alkatiri Wants To Distance Himself From Justice: Amaral
President of Associação Social Democrata Timorense (ASDT) Francisco Xavier de Amaral reportedly said former Prime Minister Alkatiri wants to distance himself from justice in relation to the recent problems in Timor-Leste. Amaral stresses that since Alkatiri was the head of the government, he must be responsible for the incidents of April 28 for giving orders to F-FDTL and to take full control of the situation and for the allegations of guns distribution to civilians. He added that if Alkatiri resumes the post as Member of Parliament, he would be entitled to immunity and therefore he would never be charged for the problems under his government. “The return of Alkatiri to the National Parliament is like a camouflage so that the police and the international forces cannot detain Alkatiri. I see it as a maneuver by Fretilin not to resolve the problem that occurred,’ said the President of ASDT. In the meantime, MP Cipriana Pereira (Fretilin) said until Mari Alkatiri is proven guilty or innocent following allegations of crimes against the population and the nation, he has the right to resume the post as MP. Pereira stressed that everybody wants justice to prevail and hold accountable those responsible for the events that led to the crisis but it has to be achieved through an investigation. (STL)
Xanana Visits F-FDTL Training Centre
President Xanana Gusmão and Minister Jose Ramos-Horta paid a visit to F-FDTL Headquarters in Metinaro on Monday where they met with Armed Forces officials for more than one hour. According to Suara Timor Lorosae (STL), the agenda of the meeting was not disclosed to the media and the presence of President Gusmão called the attention of the majority of the IDP’s in that area who welcomed and waved to him but for others it was an opportunity to express their ill feelings for the President by calling him a liar and traitor for not yet resolving the crisis of the nation. (STL)
Local Government Activities
Despite the recent crisis, the local government activities continue in the District of Viqueque, reported STL Tuesday. According to the District Administrator, Francisco da Silva, the education, health and public security continue to function as normal. Last Thursday he inaugurated a primary school in Lacluta, and stressed he would hold discussions with community leaders of that area regarding the situation in Dili as the population is starting to be get concerned with their own security, education and health. Da Silva appealed to the people of Viqueque to carry on with their daily business and assured them that the situation in Dili was up to the national government to resolve. Those responsible for the education sector for Viqueque appealed to students who have fled Dili to participate in the local classes.
In a separate article, it is reported that the Administration of Bobonaro District has not been functional for the past two months because the office keys have not been handed over and the Administrator, the Deputy and the Secretary for Region IV until now continue to be in Dili. MP Jose Andrade said although the local government is non-functional, other government sectors such as health, police, fire brigade, education and agriculture continue with their daily activities. Andrade said prior to their departures to Dili, the protesters tried to dissolve the local government by taking the keys and locking the doors of the local administration office to stop the public servants from going to work. He also said the reason for the absence of the main government heads is due to threats made to them. He appeals to the coordinator of the protesters from Bobonaro to return the keys to the Administrator office to enable the local government to operate. (STL)
International Media Reports
Brasília - The United Nations (UN) named a special commission to investigate the East Timor crisis, which began on April 28, when conflicts erupted in the country's army. So far 37 people have died as a result of the conflicts. The Independent Special Commission of Inquiry, headed by Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro of Brazil, has been entrusted with the task of establishing responsibility for the events and recommending appropriate measures to punish violations of human rights committed during the period.
The commission will begin its inquiry in July and report its findings to the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, within three months. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro has been a member of the UN Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights since 1998. The other members of the commission are Zelda Holtsman of South Africa and Ralph Zacklin of Britain
The commission was created at the request of the East Timor minister of Foreign Relations and Defense, José Ramos Horta, who sent Annan a letter in which he requested that a commission be formed to assign responsibility for the conflicts that occurred in the country in April and May.
The crisis in the former Portuguese colony was provoked by the dismissal of 600 members of the Army. On April 28 of this year, they organized a protest on the grounds that they were victims of government discrimination. The protest ended in a confrontation with the police. Since then the conflicts have been frequent, and around 37 people have been killed.
The governments of Australia, Portugal, New Zealand, and Malaysia have sent troops to help stabilize the country. Brazil already has a representative there as part of a mission from the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP). Around 150 Brazilian live in East Timor. Most of them are working in cooperation programs in areas such as culture, health, and education.
Stuff: It was not yet possible to say what type of mission the United Nations would bring to East Timor but New Zealand thought the UN should be there, Prime Minister Helen Clark said yesterday.
New Zealand soldiers are in East Timor helping keep the peace after the tiny nation degenerated into violence. Miss Clark said yesterday that New Zealand thought the UN needed to go in to East Timor.
A UN assessment team was in East Timor looking at what shape a new UN mission should take. In the past, the UN had had full executive authority in East Timor, including over security matters.
"But it's just not possible to say at the moment what form the mission can take because you're now negotiating with a sovereign Timorese government and state, whereas in the past you were in a transition to independence and in that transition the UN had security control.
"So the UN's going to have to work that through with the Timor government," Miss Clark said.
AUSTRALIA is to get tough with some of our neighbours by telling them our troops and police are not there to prop up shoddy governments. The message will be delivered today by Treasurer Peter Costello at a meeting of Pacific Island Forum finance ministers. The meeting will be in Honiara, capital of the Solomon Islands, where Australia will spend $840 million over four years on military and security deployments through the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands.
ELEANOR HALL: For the first time in more than a month, the business of government in East Timor is back underway.
Former Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Ramos-Horta is chairing a meeting of the Council of Ministers from the former Alkatiri Government.
There are, though, two notable absentees: Dr Alkatiri himself and his former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato, both of whom remain under a cloud over allegations that they formed a private militia to terrorise political opponents.
Our reporter Peter Cave is the capital Dili and he joins us now.
So Peter, what is being discussed at this meeting?
PETER CAVE: Basically, what they're trying to do is get the Government working again. Things are running out. There is no guaranteed supply of fuel. That means things like hospitals, ambulances, water and electricity are under threat.
And the Budget hasn't been passed, so there's no control over where the money's coming from and going to.
Government institutions, a lot of the staff have fled and they're not working. And I can give you a personal example of that. We feed our tapes out to television, from the local television station RTTL.
Now, 20 of their staff have had their homes burnt down. Those 20 staff and the members of their families, their children, their relatives, are all sheltering at the station.
When I was feeding out a TV story the other night I was sitting on a large bag of rice that had been provided to these people to live on.
I mean, the national television station, the source of information for the population here is in, in fact, a refugee camp. The staff at the national television station are IDPs, internally displaced people.
I spoke to Foreign Affairs Minister Jose - or the former Foreign Affairs Minister - Jose Ramos-Horta as he went in to chair that meeting of the Council of Ministers today.
JOSE RAMOS-HORTA: Well, it's open agenda, but the priority will be to look at the emergency situation in terms of the IDPs, internally displaced persons, but also overall the functioning of the administration. We can get civil servants as fast as possible back to work. So that's what...
But we will... other ministers will be raising issues that we need to tackle - fuel, to maintain electricity running, and hospitals, water supply everywhere. So these are some of the practical issues we have to deal with.
PETER CAVE: When do you expect the announcement of the interim government?
JOSE RAMOS-HORTA: I leave it to the President, who is in consultation with the political parties, with Fretilin, but I'm optimistic that some time this week he will agree on a Prime Minister.
See you later.
ELEANOR HALL: So that's Jose Ramos-Horta on his way in to chair that Council of State.
So Peter, any talk of who that new Prime Minister could be?
PETER CAVE: Well, there are a number of candidates. Primarily there is... there are three candidates that have been put up by Fretilin - Mr Ramos-Horta's ex-wife, the former Minister for Agriculture and possibly one other minister, and of course there's Mr Ramos-Horta himself.
The Fretilin Party has agreed that the person who will be the Prime Minister doesn't necessarily have to be a member of Fretilin, and given that Mr Ramos-Horta is a former founding member of Fretilin - he's now an independent - Fretilin have opened the way for him to be appointed, and that's the negotiations that are going on at the moment.
ELEANOR HALL: So Peter, Dr Alkatiri didn't turn up in court on Friday. Do you know where he is today?
PETER CAVE: Well, he did turn up at the Government offices as the ministers were going in, and for one short moment we thought he was actually going to go into that meeting. Whether he was going in to clear out his office or not... he certainly wasn't in the room when we were allowed in to film the opening of the meeting.
He at the moment is, as you said, he refused to turn up to the prosecutors and the prosecutor has asked that the Parliament take away his immunity and allow him to be prosecuted.
So he is in there, no doubt negotiating at the moment with members of Fretilin over his position.
The Parliament isn't meeting yet. The President has asked members of Parliament to come back to town.
There could possibly be a meeting of the Parliament tomorrow. And as I said, they'll be asked whether or not they want to withdraw Dr Alkatiri's immunity as a Member of Parliament to allow him to be prosecuted.
ELEANOR HALL: Peter Cave in Dili, thank you.
Peter Cave, our Foreign Affairs Editor
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