Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 12 July 2006
Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources
Daily Media Review Wednesday, 12 July 2006
National Media Reports
Railos Group Hands Over Guns
A ceremony was held yesterday in Liquiça soccer field, a town 30 kilometres west of Dili, for the hand over of guns by Vicente “Railos” da Conceição and his group in the presence of Prime Minister José Ramos-Horta, Bishop of Dili Dom Ricardo da Silva, Baucau Diocese representative, Fr. Martinho Gusmao, Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro, Commander PNTL Paulo de Fatima Martins, Major Tara, former Lieutenant Salsinha Gastão, members of the Parliament and diplomatic corps and the local population totalling about 1,000. The population welcomed Prime Minister Ramos-Horta with traditional dances in that district. Eleven guns were handed over to the new Prime Minister and according to Railos, four weapons were taken by F-FDTL during the shooting in Tasitolu. Another three were handed over by Major Tara in Ermera. Speaking at the ceremony, Railos reiterated that his group had been armed by Rogerio Lobato in May with the knowledge of Mari Alkatiri. Also speaking at the ceremony, Bishop Ricardo stressed that the handing over of guns is a sign that people value life. He appealed to other groups with guns to follow Railos’ example. In a separate article, Longuinhos Monteiro stated the he received the guns handed over by Railos group which would be used as evidence in the court process. (STL,TP)
Changes of Procurement Directors
Addressing the nation on the national television, President Xanana Gusmão pointed to many concerns the country is still facing and areas in which the new government must make changes to improve the services. Among them is a change of the directors in the procurement and tender department. The President points out that it would also stop accusations that the directors are collecting money for their party and avoid numerous other alleged questionable practices. (TP)
Hasegawa Hands Report to Prime-Minister Horta
SRSG Hasegawa on Tuesday presented a report on transparency and accountability to Prime Minister Ramos-Horta with the aim of helping the new government win the trust and confidence of the citizens, he said. SRSG also said Prime Minister Ramos-Horta has indicated he will prioritize measures of transparency and accountability in his administration and wants the international community to assist in strengthening capacity in the Provedor’s Office and Prosecutor’s General’s Office. He added that the Inspector General should keep an eye out for abuses of power and corruption practices. The report is based on recommendations from experts from the UN, Finland, World Bank, UN Development Program in April 2006.
International Media Reports
Ramos Horta calls for Australian force to stay
Brendan Nicholson July 12, 2006
EAST Timor's new Prime Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, has reacted with alarm to suggestions that Australia may begin pulling out troops soon. Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, said this week that Mr Ramos Horta's appointment to the top job would substantially stabilise East Timor and Australia could consider cutting back its force there. Mr Ramos Horta said he could understand Mr Downer's wish to have the troops home as soon as possible. "But I believe that we need the Australian forces here for the rest of the year," he said. He agreed that security had improved significantly since Australian troops were sent in. "However, there is the psychological factor in that even though there has not been any significant violence for many weeks, there have been … isolated incidents," he told ABC radio. Mr Ramos Horta said he would ask Prime Minister John Howard not to reduce the number of troops or police. They were highly professional and mobile and had credibility. He said an option was for Australians to come under the UN as a peacekeeping force, but he wanted Australian officers to be in overall command. Labor foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said withdrawing the troops would be "just plain wrong". "Part of the reason that we had an outbreak of political instability in East Timor in early 2006 is because Australia pulled its troops out of East Timor too early," Mr Rudd said. (The AGE)
Ramos-Horta Oversees Weapons Handover by East Timor Civilians
July 12 (Bloomberg)
Jose Ramos-Horta, East Timor's new prime minister, spent his first day in office overseeing a handover of weapons by civilians and making an appeal for an end to ethnic violence in the country. ``We cannot win with violence and weapons,'' Ramos-Horta said yesterday in the town of Liquica, according to an e-mailed government statement. ``Let me appeal to all individuals or groups who are in possession of weapons of any kind to hand them over to the authorities.'' A group led by Vicente ``Railos'' da Conceicao handed in 14 weapons, the government said. Members of the group have accused former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri of recruiting them to eliminate political opponents, charges Alkatiri denies.
President Xanana Gusmao appointed Ramos-Horta, the country's former defense and foreign minister, after Alkatiri resigned last month in the face of public demonstrations demanding he step down. Alkatiri has been blamed for creating ethnic divisions that sparked violence in the country since March that killed at least 37 people and forced 155,000 people, or 15 percent of the population, from their homes. ``We apologize to the people, the government, the president'' for keeping weapons, Agence France-Presse cited ``Railos'' as saying at the ceremony. Ramos-Horta, at his swearing-in ceremony two days ago, said his government will concentrate on restoring peace and security, rebuilding the police and armed forces and improving the economy, especially in rural areas.
The unrest began after Alkatiri's government fired 600 soldiers for desertion, sparking clashes between army and police units that spread to civilians. The dismissals, involving about one-third of East Timor's armed forces, led to the collapse of its security forces. A 2,500-member international peacekeeping force, including 1,300 soldiers and police from Australia, as well as units from New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia arrived in East Timor in May to maintain security. The government will work to end the complicated system of bureaucracy that undermines political decisions and ``opens the door to corruption,'' Ramos-Horta said at his inauguration.
Sukehiro Hasegawa, the United Nations special envoy to East Timor, yesterday presented Ramos-Horta with a report on how his government should fight corruption, the UN said on its Web site. The report, prepared by UN and World Bank officials and the government of Finland, recommends training civil servants in a code of conduct and ethics and introducing a freedom of information law in the country.
The UN has been operating in East Timor since 1999, helping the country organize elections and create government institutions. East Timor last month asked the UN to send a peacekeeping force of about 870 UN security personnel to maintain law and order as it prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007. East Timor, or Timor-Leste, a country of about 1 million people, voted for independence in a 1999 referendum after a 24- year occupation by Indonesia, which invaded the territory when it was a Portuguese colony in 1975. The country, which became independent in May 2002, lies about 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Australia. Economic growth will have to start with agriculture, which employs nearly three-quarters of the labor force, Hasegawa, said in a report in March. East Timor grows coffee, rice and maize among its agricultural produce. East Timor and Australia in January signed an accord to split royalties from the Sunrise gas field in the Timor Sea, operated by Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. The accord will provide revenue of about $4 billion over the project's life. Funds from oil and gas will help the country reduce poverty by one-third by 2015 provided they are used for rural development, education, health care and job training, the report said. East Timor's per capital yearly income is $370, it said. (Bloomberg)
National News Sources Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]
These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office