Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 22 March 2006


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Wednesday, 22 March 2006

National Media Reports

Ramos-Horta Prepared To Become President Than UN SG

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation José Ramos-Horta told the media on Tuesday that if he has to choose between becoming Secretary-General of the UN and President of the Republic, the priority would be Timor-Leste. “If the nation needs me, I’ll give priority to Timor-Leste, but President Xanana Gusmão is the one making the decision as he has already said that he doesn’t want to candidate for second term,” Ramos-Horta said before departing to Japan with Prime Minister Alkatiri on an official visit. Responding to remarks by some that he knows more of the world than of Timor-Leste, Ramos-Horta said these are remarks made by the misinformed adding “when I’m in Timor-Leste I travel to many places that the Ministers and Members of the National Parliament have not yet been to, such as Laklubar, Atsabe, Letefoho, and the village of Rualala where there are many poor people with whom I’ve visited”. He stressed that the visit to these remote areas is not with the purpose to campaign for the Presidency, but for the personal satisfaction of meeting and speaking with the people who live in these places. On another note, the Minister said it is too soon to make a decision to candidate for the UN Secretary-General position although many nations have already presented his name as one of the candidates. Ramos-Horta also emphasized that Timor-Leste’s current Government policy is to support a candidate from the ASEAN, especially the former Minister of Thailand. (DN, TP STL)


Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said the decision made by Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak to dismiss the 591 soldiers from F-FDTL cannot be reversed. “The decision came from the commander of F-FDTL, following consultation with me and I agreed and fully support the decision of the commando who has the capacity to make that decision,” Alkatiri said. He added that the soldiers have been out of the Armed Force Headquarters for over two months and such a case does not exist in any other country, therefore they should no longer be considered soldiers.

President of the National Parliament, Francisco Guterres is of the same opinion that even President Gusmão cannot reverse the decision by Brigadier General Taur.

In a separate article in STL, former commander of Falintil for Region III, Cornelio Gama, also known as L-7, suspect that some leaders are behind the problem within F-FDTL with the aim of destroying it. “During our time in the jungle there was no talk about East and West but now that we are independent, this issue is emerging,” said Gama who is also the President of the political party UNDERTIM.

Brigadier General Taur reportedly dismisses comments by some people that his decision shows a lack of leadership, by remarking that the people making such remarks need further education. Regarding allegations that there is no law for the armed force, Taur said they are currently following UNTAET’s law and can always resort to Indonesia law but they do not wish to as the penalties are much more severe. (DN, TP, STL)

President Of Parliament Says Amaral Must Resign

Francisco Lu’Olo Guterres, President of the National Parliament asked Amaral to resign as Vice-President of the Parliament based on the demands by the majority of Fretilin MPs who presented their decision to the Parliament plenary session on Tuesday, March 21. Fretilin MPs have withdrawn their vote of trust to the President of the political party ASDT and Vice-President of the Parliament due to a statement as reported by the media, [on 16 March] in which Amaral said, “If we choose an Islamic person to govern this nation, this means we are anti-Christ”. MP Francisco Branco (Fretilin) said Amaral’s statement is racist, anti-democratic and unconstitutional. “The decision is just because our nation is based on pluralism, and we don’t discriminate based on race, religion or class. A leader of a sovereign institution is jumping on our constitution. This is serious for us,” Branco said. He added, “We are not questioning whether names have been mentioned. We are questioning his discrimination against one religion.” He said that such an attitude must be combated for Timor-Leste to continue to be a pluralistic nation. In the meantime, Francisco Xavier Amaral reportedly said that he doesn’t need a vote of trust to be elevated. According to the media, Amaral acknowledges that he made the statement with the intention of pointing out that if people vote for Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri will continue to be the Prime Minister and that means they are choosing an Islamic person. Therefore Alkatiri will defend Islam and not Catholicism. He cited as an example remarks made by Mari Alkatiri that priests are politically active but hiding behind their cassocks. The President of ASDT added that Alkatiri’s comments are an insulting to nuns, priests and bishops who gave their lives for the struggle during the 24-year period. (STL, TP, DN)

TL and Indonesia to form joint team to investigate alleged gang rape

The Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste is reported in the national media as stating that a joint Timor-Leste-Indonesia bilateral investigation has been established to investigate the alleged gang rape of a woman from Oecussi by TNI soldiers in Kefamanu, West Timor on 12 January 2006. The Timor-Leste team will be headed by the Prosecutor-General and will be comprised of the Human Rights Adviser to the Prime Minister, the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Gender Equality, two PNTL commanders and one representative of civil society. The Vice Minister reportedly said that the two teams would hold a meeting in the near future. (STL, TP)

Regional Media Reports

East Timor company to sell oil in Macau

Ta Fui Oil, an oil trading company from East Timor, Monday opened an office in Macau for sale of oil products in the region, company officials said.

Lourenço de Oliveira, the company’s chairman, said that the branch had been opened in Macau taking into account the territory’s potential to “channel commerce with China.”

"Macau has the possibility of turning into a platform for oil industry contacts between Asia, particularly China, and East Timor,” Oliveira said.

Oliveira said that Ta Fui Oil would not only sell oil products from the Timor Sea, but also from other regions.

Ta Fu Oil, which sells crude oil and natural gas, said that at a later date it would open offices in Malaysia and Singapore.

As part of Chinese-East Timor cooperation Chinese state oil company Petrochina is carrying out oil exploration studies in East Timor’s offshore area, and a second phase of seismological studies, which may be carried out by other Chinese companies, is due to begin soon.

Currently a public tender is underway in East Timor for the exploration of 11 oil blocs, in which 36 oil and consultancy companies are taking part.

The blocs being auctioned off are located in the Timorese exclusive economic area, outside of the area under dispute with Australia, and which specialists believe to have high quality oil and natural gas.

The seismic studies carried out by Petrochina and Norway’s Global Geo Services identified over 20 potential drilling areas in the East Timor exclusive economic area. (macauhub)

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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