Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 29 March 2006


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

UIR officer stabbed and pistol stolen + Government makes arbitrary decision

A member of the PNTL’s Rapid Response Unit (UIR) was yesterday stabbed twice in he stomach while attending an assault on a home in Fatuhada. The group involved managed to escape with the officer’s pistol, and to date the group have not been found. It is reported that in attempting to find the person/s responsible for the attack the police threatened some uninvolved people, including an apparent assault on some youths sitting along the foreshore. Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri paid a visit to the victim at the National Hospital yesterday evening, and while there appealed to all people but in particular the Fatuhada community and the “591 petitioners” to turn over the suspect. He stated that it is pointless in trying to defy the authorities, because the police have already identified the suspect. He reiterated however that this particular case remains an isolated incident and that it is not the “591” who are causing problems in general. Meanwhile, ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral has criticized the decision to expel the 591 petitioners from the F-FDTL, saying that the decision demonstrates to the people that its current leaders are weak and make arbitrary decisions. He stated that although the leaders do not have the vision or the courage to resolve domestic problems, they also refuse to give up their positions of authority and continue to try to fool the people. (TP, STL, DN)

Xanana expresses sadness + MP asks CoM Legal Advisor to leave the country

President Xanana has expressed his sadness on hearing about the various violent and intimidating incidents that have been occurring in Dili. Speaking on Tuesday, the President said that the kind of behaviour he has been hearing about is wrong, and requested that it ceases. He questioned the authority of the police and military to be carrying out night patrols, as he said that it is only the President that may declare a state of emergency, with final authorization from the Parliament. He reminded the people that the “591” group are not criminals, as upon being expelled from the F-FDTL they surrendered their weapons, and that in any case it is not members of this group who have been involved in the majority of recent incidents. Related to the F-FDTL Commander’s decision to expel the 591 soldiers, some Members of Parliament yesterday demanded that Legal Advisor to the Council of Ministers Domingos Tristao should leave Timor-Leste. According to these MP’s, the UNOTIL Advisor focused unnecessarily on the disciplinary as opposed to political nature of the matter. PSD MP Lucia Lobato stated that in her opinion Tristao should leave the country, as the decision that he took in relation to the F-FDTL matter has contributed to the current domestic instability. MP Leandro Isaac said that Tristao should advise the relevant leaders that there is no judicial basis for the decision that was taken. (TP, STL, DN)

Police action a threat to democracy + Poverty phenomenon is not new for TL

In disagreement with the F-FDTL Commander’s decision to expel the 591 petitioners from the F-FDTL, the Mankodo Kuluhun Youth Group organized a protest action which was then shut down by the police. The police action has been criticized by Joao Choque, a member of the group, who stated that as Timorese citizens they have the moral responsibility to be concerned about domestic issues. He explained that the group had established their protest in Becora for only three hours when the police arrived to cancel the peaceful protest, and expressed his concern that such police action is a threat to democracy.

In other news, Baucau Diocese Bishop Basilio do Nascimento has expressed his non-surprise at the rise in poverty quoted in the recent UNDP Report on Timor-Leste, stating that poverty in this country is not a new phenomenon. He said that since Timor-Leste gained its independence, every report printed about the country has clearly presented Timor-Leste as the poorest country in Asia. He stated however that we should question why Timor-Leste is moving backwards when it should be moving forwards. (TP, STL)

Lobato and Martins make visit

It is reported that the Minister of Interior, Mr Rogerio Lobato, and Commander of PNTL, Paulo de Fatima Martins, yesterday visited sites where disturbances occurred due to rumours of an east/west conflict. More than 17 houses have been destroyed. The newspaper reports that Commander Martins stated that the police is maintaining security in Dili, with 10 policemen stationed in every Suco, so people should not panic. Mr Lobato appealed to the population to not panic and leave their homes. (DN)

Regional News

East Timor president holds emergency talks on troop dispute

East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao is holding an emergency meeting with the country's military commanders to try resolve a dispute with hundreds of soldiers who were sacked earlier this month. The 590 soldiers were fired after they deserted their barracks in protest against alleged nepotism and poor conditions. At least 12 of the sacked soldiers have been arrested following disturbances and looting throughout the capital, Dili, on the weekend. The disgruntled soldiers had planned to hold a protest in the city on Tuesday to call on the president to honourably discharge them from their ranks.

Dili tense Sonny Inbaraj, who works for the non-profit media organisation, Internews in Dili, says the protest has been postponed. However, he says the atmosphere is still tense. Mr Inbaraj says many streets in the capital are deserted and the volume of traffic has decreased. He also says people are stocking up on food and market vendors "are basically trying to get rid of their supplies so they can move away." (ABC Radio News)

Coogee Makes New Timor Sea Discovery

Oil and gas explorer and producer, Coogee Resources Limited, yesterday reported a significant discovery in the Timor Sea, representing a major boost to its plans to develop the Montara/Skua oilfield. The discovery is at Swift North-1 in the Exploration Permit AC/P34 in the Ashmore Cartier area of the Timor Sea in which Coogee Resources holds a 100% interest. The Swift North-1 well intersected a 23-metre oil column that tested successfully as a high producer. Coogee Resources Chief Executive Peter Hood said Swift North-1 had the potential to contain 4-5 million barrels of recoverable oil and potential production rates in excess of 7,000 barrels of oil per day. Mr Hood said this would lift the combined reserves around the Montara oilfield to approximately 37 million barrels. “This latest discovery strengthens our view that the Montara development stacks up very well in both financial terms and in reserves,” said Mr Hood.

“The changed price environment and new discoveries have brought Montara into a zone of strong financial viability and we are keen to move quickly towards development later in 2006.” Coogee Resources intends to develop the 3 adjacent fields - Montara, Skua and Swift- through a new Floating Production, Storage and Offloading vessel. The vessel will be located south of the FPSOs operating at the Challis and Jabiru oilfields, both of which are operated by Coogee Resources, and in which the company has a 70.94% interest in. The semi-submersible Ocean Bounty rig that drilled Swift North-1 has now moved on to drill the nearby Swallow-1 prospect, also 100% owned by Coogee Resources. Mr Hood said Coogee Resources was currently considering a range of options for funding the development of the Montara project. “We have a number of options before us and clearly one of those would be to take Coogee Resources to the Australian listed market,” he said. “The Board will work through the full range of options in the coming months and we expect we will be in a position to make an announcement towards the end of the current financial year. “Our focus is on starting development of the Montara project by the end of 2006, with first production in 2008.” (The Mine Box ­

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]

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