Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 25 - 27 March 2006


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Saturday 25 and Monday 27 March 2006

Seven arrested, 16 houses attacked on Saturday night + Some vendors abandon market activities

Police have arrested seven people accused of creating instability on Saturday evening in the Dili suburbs of Tasi Tolu, Bairopite and Taibessi, including attacks on 16 houses in the Manleuana area. Speaking to journalists on Sunday, the PNTL General Commander Paulo de Fatima Martins confirmed that the problems occurred due to the East/West issue related to the expulsion of the 591 soldiers from the F-FDTL. He stated that it was not the concerned soldiers themselves who were involved in the disturbances, but rather groups who are taking advantage of the issue to provoke a situation of instability. The Commander explained that some members of the population are spreading rumours about disturbances, with the result that many people did not leave their houses as they normally would over the weekend. It is reported that some business owners also closed their businesses early, and market vendors packed up their goods early on Saturday morning, worried about purported attacks that evening.

Coordinator of the petitioners Gastao Salsinha said that if the population feel that there is currently a tense situation, they should question the F-FDTL General Commander Taur Matan Ruak, as he is the one who took the decision to expel the soldiers. (TP, DN)

PM Alkatiri: Decision of F-FDTL commander is correct and just + Alkatiri congratulates 591 petitioners

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has expressed his support for the decision taken by the F-FDTL Commander to expel the 591 soldiers, stating that he believes the decision is correct and just. He said that it was not possible to let the situation remain as it was, with such a large number of soldiers absent from their jobs for nearly two months now. Speaking on Sunday upon return from his visit to Japan, Alkatiri stated that the expulsion of the soldiers is not an attempt to forget the problems within the F-FDTL.

Human rights lawyer Aderito de Jesus Soares when contacted by TP reaffirmed his earlier opinion that the state institutions of the Presidency, the Government and the National Parliament as well as the F-FDTL itself do not yet possess the political maturity to resolve the problem, with the result that the problem is beginning to concern the population.

The Prime Minister meanwhile congratulated the 591 soldiers who continue to maintain the discipline expected of them by not causing any problems, and asked them to continue to display such discipline. He said that any problems caused recently are the work of other groups, because the “petitioners” group has maintained its discipline to date. He reiterated that Timor-Leste is one country, and asked people not to dwell on the East/West divide. He also appealed to the people to remain calm and to place their trust in the state institutions so the 4 December 2002 incident will not be repeated. (TP, DN)

Bishop Nascimento: President’s opinion a criticism, not a decision

Baucau Diocese Bishop Basilio do Nascimento has stated that he senses discord between the opinions of President Xanana and F-FDTL Commander Taur Matan Ruak on the expulsion of the 591 soldiers. He said that he believes the opinion expressed by the President was a criticism, and it would be incorrect to view it as a decision. (TP)

Alarico Ximenes: Political leaders should be careful with statements

Responding to Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri’s statement that only Fretilin can ensure stability, Dean of the Political and Philosophy Department of the Timor-Leste National University Alarico da Costa Ximenes said that such a statement could have a negative effect on the country. He said that political leaders should think before they speak, and analyse the current political situation, because their statements can influence possible conflicts. In his opinion, leaders should be focusing on politically educating the people, rather than issuing statements that incite conflict. (TP)

Need to find the right time to submit the Greater Sunrise agreement

The Minister of Presidential Council of Ministers and Spokesperson, Mr Antonio Bianco, said that the government has not submitted the Greater Sunrise agreement to the National Parliament for ratification because the “right time” needs to be sought. The government is now preparing the national budget for fiscal year 200- 2007 which will be discussed at the donor partners’ meeting in April. (TP)

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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