Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 13 July 2006
Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources
Daily Media Review Thursday, 13 July 2006 National Media Reports
Xanana pushes Horta for military reformation + F-FDTL must shows their professionalism
President Xanana Gusmao pushes Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta for military reformation and PNTL to prevent conflict among them. Xanana also asks Horta to lead the government for better governance until next election. Xanana told the media that “The government must find the way to reform PNTL and F-FDTL with high professionalism within their intuitions. The decisions have to made by one commander” said Xanana. He further explains that F-FDTL is owned by the nation not individual or any by political party. MP from Democratic Party (PD) Juliao Mausiri stated that F-FDTL have to show their professionalism as a force of state not own by political party. “Anyone who wants to be a member of PNTL or F-FDTL should not be influenced by any political party but understand their mission that they are owned by the state to defend the nation and its people’ said Mausiri. (STL, TP)
PM Horta would not follow his promises + ASDT support the program of Horta
President of UDT party, Joao Viegas Carrascalao said that the promises made by the new Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta would not happen because they’re not realistic in the crisis situation. “The PM has made no preparation to implement his program in short time but he made lots of promises” said Carrascalao. In response to Carrascalao statement, president of ASDT party Francisco Xavier do Amaral said that he fully supports the program of Prime Minister Ramos Horta because he believes Horta can implement it. “We have to move on and we cannot just listen to the rumours to stop the government’s program for development in this country” he told TP reporters at National Parliament house.
Electoral Law will kill small parties
MP from UDT Party Alexandre Cortereal told the media at National Parliament that electoral law proposed by Fretilin government will kill the small parties in the country because the article 13 only allows 5% vote to have seats in the parliament. “It means to get one seat in the parliament one has to get 20.000 voters” said Cortereal. He further stated that the small political parties would find hard to get 5% of vote so there will be no democracy in this country. (STL)
International Media Reports
150,000 E Timorese still displaced: UN Thursday, 13 July 2006
The United Nations (UN) estimates there are still more than 150,000 East Timorese people who have not returned to their homes after the recent violence that engulfed the capital Dili. Many are in displaced persons' camps set up by the UN. The Australian-led security task force says there are some people who go back to their homes during the day but return to the camps at night because they are still nervous. UN spokesman Bob Sullivan says work is under way to assure people it is safe to return home. "There's been some effort by the international community, including the Australian troops of course, to begin a new system of ... providing security in the home area," he said. "That's starting this week, on a very organised basis, so that the people who are displaced would feel comfortable and secure going home."
Meanwhile, East Timor's new Deputy Prime Minister says the United Nations (UN) Special Commission of Inquiry into Dili's recent violence will be crucial in rebuilding the country's military and police forces. The three-month inquiry will look at the most serious violence, including the killing of 10 unarmed police in May. Estanislau Da Silva says the East Timorese Government wants help from other countries to get the police and military back on track. "They're looking at ways how to restructure it and then of course they are seeking international advisers, particularly from Australia and other international advisers about how to restore and restart the policing activities in Dili," he said. (ABC)
Background to blocked East Timor leadership challenge 12-Jul-2006
By Paul Cleary
As the Prime Minister of East Timor, Mari Alkatiri, prepared a strategy that successfully blocked Friday's leadership vote, hanging on the wall of a conference room in his office is a satellite photo of Dili on fire. Smoke billows from scores of incandescent spots all over the city. The image was taken from the fires of September 1999, when Indonesian backed militias torched the country. Sadly, it is an image that is starting to become synonymous with the recent history of this newly independent country. Just six months after independence, there were the fires of December 4, 2002, when the killing of a student by police triggered riots and the burning of shops and the home of Alkatiri.
Then there were the fires of April 28 this year when a demonstration by sacked soldiers was hijacked by political opportunists and some of the mass of unemployed youth. This led to 5 deaths and the burning of several cars outside the Prime Minister's office, and the burning of many homes. In between, there was in April 2005 a tense, three-week demonstration by the Catholic Church again the Government. This ended peacefully but like April 28, it came close to being hijacked and turning violent. These demonstrations reflect the frustration and disappointment of people who expected that independence would bring rapid change to their lives. But are also an indication of a government that is unpopular and increasingly perceived as autocratic. The task of building a new nation from scratch, especially after the devastation of 1999, was a massive undertaking from the beginning. But the significant achievements since independence in May 2002 have been overshadowed, and the nation set back many years.
Until April 28, East Timor was gaining a reputation as one of the success stories of post-conflict reconstruction. After recovering from the December 2002 riots, the UN peacekeeping mission and local security forces had brought stability and development to East Timor. Last year new laws were passed for investment and petroleum development, and the country began to attract tourists. East Timor was touted as a model for other post-conflict endeavours - including Iraq. For a country in which only a handful of the working-age population is formally employed, East Timor was remarkably safe, until recently. There was no need for razor wire and elaborate high-security technology that is mandatory in PNG and other similarly poor countries in Africa. It was safe to wander the streets by day and night.
The president of the World Bank, Paul Wolfowitz, remarked on the high degree of stability that prevailed when he visited East Timor just two weeks before the riots. On April 10, he lauded "the considerable progress the Timorese people have achieved in the past 6 1/2 years". "The bustling markets, the rebuilt schools, the functioning Government - and above all, the peace and stability - attest to sensible leadership and sound decisions." That East Timor's steady development from early 2003 to April 2006 could be brought undone by a trivial dispute over discrimination and conditions in the armed forces underscores the fragility of this emerging nation on Australia's doorstep. And it highlights the need for Australia to make a substantial and long-term commitment to the development of East Timor, a country of great human and natural resource potential. The World Bank and the UN had warned there were fault lines that could easily lead to unrest.
The Government, dominated by former exiles from Mozambique and Australia, had been told that the population perceived it as remote, insensitive and centralised. The Government has made mistakes in its handling of the dispute with the soldiers. The decision to sack them provided the spark for the riots. One telling fact is that after sacking the soldiers, the head of East Timor's armed forces, Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, embarked on an extended international tour to Malaysia and the US to look at military equipment. Last week he was in Lisbon. It is unfortunate that government members routinely accept invitations from foreign governments and organisations. More time could be spent at home rather than travelling abroad. East Timor needs to make the switch from running an international independence lobby to nation-building.
The Government, led by Alkatiri and Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta, is, on the whole, worthy of ongoing international support. Elisabeth Huybens, who recently finished a marathon five-year term as World Bank country manager, says she liked working in East Timor because the Government was genuinely trying to do the right thing, as opposed to her experience in flagrantly corrupt countries in Africa where governments couldn't care less. Nonetheless, this week Alkatiri faces a crucial vote on his leadership at the ruling Fretilin party congress. East Timor's ambassador to the UN, Jose Luis Guterres, has emerged as a key contender. He said in an interview last week that East Timor needed a more "sensitive" prime minister.
Canberra on Friday ordered three Australian navy ships to waters off Timor as a contingency measure but despite the recent upheaval, East Timor is not destined to become a failed state - another Haiti on Australia's doorstep. But the Government and people of East Timor require a long-term partnership with Australia and other countries in the region in order to succeed. As The Australian said in a prescient editorial in January 2004, Australia's aid commitment since independence of about $40million a year is inadequate when compared with the needs and the $2 billion spent during the emergency phase. No doubt Australia's attitude to East Timor has been influenced by the strong stand taken by Alkatiri during the Timor Sea negotiations. East Timor does not need money per se, but it needs technical support and programs that can directly address poverty and move the country on to the first rung of the development ladder. Without this support, East Timor may remain stuck in its current state of under-development and fragility. It is not the case that Australians are no longer welcome in East Timor. While the Government has aligned itself with the Portuguese-speaking world, the people of East Timor generally feel more comfortable with the thousands of Australians who have worked in East Timor and the hundreds who have taken the trouble to learn their language. And the support shown by the Australian people during the Indonesian years, during Interfet and since independence, is something that the Timorese will never forget. Paul Cleary worked for Prime Minister Alkatiri as a consultant on a World Bank-funded project from 2003 to 2005. He is now writing a book on East Timor for Allen & Unwin (Eureka Street)
Australia to reduce peacekeeping force in Timor-Leste, FM CANBERRA, Jul 12, 2006 (Xinhua via COMTEX) Source: Xinhua News Agency Date: 12 Jul 2006
The Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Tuesday Australia will reduce the number of its peacekeepers in Timor-Leste as soon as possible, despite the neighbor's plea for their stay. Timor-Leste's new Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta has asked Australian forces to remain until at least the end of the year. But Downer said while some soldiers may remain to the end of the year, it would not be the 1,300 to 1,400 Australians currently in Timor-Leste. Australia, together with a number of other countries, sent in troops to help restore order in violence-torn Timor-Leste in late May. Australian Associated Press quoted Downer as saying that Timor-Leste leadership should resolve their own problems. "I am going to keep making the point that we need to reduce our troop numbers as soon as we realistically can," he said. Downer said he does not know when Australian forces would be able to withdraw completely but said the situation in Timor-Leste is improving. (Reliefweb)
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 - END