Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review 5 September 2006
Daily Media Review Tuesday, 05 September 2006
National Media Reports
Wirajuda And Downer Meeting With President Gusmão
Ministers of Foreign Affairs for Indonesia and Australia met with President Gusmão, following the trilateral gathering in Dili on Monday. According to the media some of the issues discussed by President Gusmão and the foreign ministers were economy, politics, security and support of the neighboring countries during the 2007 elections.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ramos-Horta said ties between Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Australia remain the same as the previous government under the premiership of Mari Alkatiri. He said the trilateral meeting was to review the ties between the three countries, especially the cooperation at the commercial exchange level between the three nations and the means to be able to encourage more investment in the respective economies. The Prime Minister also briefed the foreign ministers on the current situation and the security conditions of the country, the election for 2007 and ended with a confidence note of trust that Timor-Leste would overcome the actual situation. (TP)
Escape Of Prisoners Is Not International Forces Responsibility: Slater
Commander of the international forces in Timor-Leste, Brigadier General Mick Slater said the escape of Alfredo and his members from jail is the responsibility of the government, especially the minister of justice and not the international force. Slater said the duty of the force is to patrol the town and that securing law and order is and coordinated with the international police. A representative of the New Zealand force is of the same opinion as Slater.
In a separate article, Steve Lancaster, commander of the International Police said during a press conference on Monday that three people have been identified as being involved in the attack in Kolmera, which left 9 people injured. Lancaster told the media on Monday that some of those involved are PNTL officers and the international police needs the cooperation of the community to find and detain them and hand them over to the court for the crimes committed. He said the international police would not be able to do anything if the community is not providing information on their whereabouts which will be damaging to stability. STL reported Lancaster as saying publication of posters with the fugitives’ photos has been done with the intention to limit their movement in order to have the opportunity to recapture them. The Prosecutor-General authorized the publication of the posters. He also appealed to the escapees to surrender peacefully.
During a public gathering on Monday, organized by the NGO Lao Hamutuk, the international police representative Emir Bilget said that sooner or later the international police will capture Alfredo and his members. Therefore he appealed for them to surrender. Bilget also explained that the new United Nations mission would set up new structures for the international police in Dili and in the districts and that the police need the contribution from everybody including the Timorese. On the efforts of the international police to recapture Alfredo, MP Leandro Isac said he disagrees with the Police Chief Superintendent Emir Bilget because in reality part of the population welcomes Alfredo and they would be inclined to protect him therefore undermining the efforts of the international forces to maintain stability. Isac said the international police made the appeal because they are unaware of and have not been following Alfredo’s whereabouts believing the appeal would satisfy everybody, which is not the case. He further said if the international forces want to be successful they must try and learn from the case of Major Alfredo.
In relation to claims of attempts on the lives of Alfredo and his members, Director of Becora prison, Carlos Freitas Sarmento refuted the statement saying there was no group that wanted to kill or defend anyone. Sarmento said during the last four months, members of HAK had not visited the prison to collect data therefore the statement made by them is unsubstantiated. He added that the case of Alfredo occurred due to lack of equipment in the prison and that such incidents occur in other parts of the world. The Director of the prison said the prisoners fled following attacks on the guards, some of them using scissors.
Institution Capacity of Public Ministry Still Weak: Aderito de Jesus
Human Rights lawyer advocate Aderito de Jesus said the judiciary capacity of the courts and the public ministry is still weak. De Jesus referred to the many cases still unresolved apart from the pending ones. He said the government must support the means to facilitate the court and the public ministry in order for them to be more effective. The human rights advocate says the judiciary process is now on phase one and it should be questioned whether it can proceed with the cases. If not he suggest that maybe a special panel should be established to attend to the crisis. De Jesus said this is one of the propositions for the international commission to look into involving the cases starting from April up until now. He said the state law applies to everybody. (TP)
No Extraordinary Congress: Lu’Olo
The demand for extraordinary congress by the group of Fretilin for changes (Fretilin Mudança) have been rejected by the party’s Secretary-General and President. According to Francisco Lu’Olo Guterres, even though Fretilin’s constitution foresees extraordinary congress, the demands of the group will not be realized. Guterres said the structures of the districts are aware that the group for changes want the extraordinary congress but there is no room for it as per the court of appeal decision. In the meantime, Egidio de Jesus of the ‘group for changes’ said the majority of the people that participated in the congress and members of Liquiça District have rejected the leadership of Fretilin under Mari Alkatiri and Rogerio Lobato. He said the ‘group for changes’ would go ahead with the congress following further consultations with more districts. (STL)
International Media Reports
Downer seeks Timor military backup
Source: AAP September 05, 2006
THE United Nations force of 350 would not be enough to handle security in East Timor, foreign minister Alexander Downer said today.
More soldiers would be needed to maintain the peace in East Timor once the United Nations force arrived, Mr Downer said. "I do think there should be military backup in case the worst happens," Mr Downer told ABC Radio. Mr Downer visited East Timor's capital, Dili, yesterday for regular trilateral meetings with East Timorese Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta, Foreign Minister Jose Luis Guterres, and Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda. On ABC radio today, Mr Downer said the situation in East Timor "could go badly wrong". The UN is looking at providing a 350-strong force in East Timor, but Mr Downer said Australia would continue lobbying for more. "I think you have to have soldiers who can go in and sort out the problem and, from our point of view, our military are looking at keeping around 650 soldiers there and then there will be soldiers from other countries," Mr Downer said. "This is unresolved by the way. A lot of people in the secretariat on the UN and some members of the Security Council want the UN proposal to go ahead and I'm trying to ensure that this green-helmeted idea with a bigger force is the prevailing view." Mr Downer also suggested there might be an issue with the UN force's capacity to react to the security situation in East Timor. He said the rules of engagement for the UN force should be similar to those applying now to Australian forces stationed in East Timor. "I don't think you want a situation where the military, in an emergency, are trying to get on to (UN headquarters in) New York and get approval from officials in New York to do this, that and the other. "I think the military should be able to go and do the job quickly and effectively. "Now they can do that at the moment under the arrangements we have with the East Timor government and, as I said ... yesterday that's the best way. Let's keep it that way," he said. Mr Downer said the recent breakout of 57 prisoners from Dili's Becora prison was not the country's only problem. Referring to the breakout, he said, " ... almost all of (the escapees) are in jail for murder, are dangerous people and you've got some high velocity, automatic military weapons out there in the community. Nobody really knows where they are." Australian forces already had collected about 1000 rifles. "But there's still a lot of other guns out there in East Timor so I think the situation is still reasonably dangerous there," Mr Downer said. "First of all, there's still what you might call random violence there, gangs roaming around. "While I was there yesterday, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) told me that there were two incidents where gangs were hurling rocks at each other in parts of Dili. "They say that is a daily occurrence in Dili." However, the AFP commander in East Timor, Commander Steve Lancaster, also told ABC radio today that the breakout had not led to an increase in crime. "Certainly the Becora prison break out hasn't seen any difference or escalation in crime itself," Commander Lancaster said, although a big problem was boredom. "We still have a lot of people out there who just join in and have nothing much better to do other than get involved in a good rock fight. "It's just particular areas of Dili which create problems," he said. "I'd say there are about three or four areas, and other than that most of Dili is still relatively safe and people walk around doing their normal business." (The Australian)
Beazley welcomes Timor troops plan
September 05, 2006 10:45am Article from: AAP
EAST Timor would be Australia's responsibility for a very long time, Labor said today.
Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley today welcomed the Government's decision to continue to provide military support to the country ahead of elections early next year. "We have said all along that this is our area of priority, that we pulled out too quickly previously and we welcome the fact the Government has converted to a bit of commonsense on that subject," Mr Beazley said. But, Mr Beazley, said he would not put a deadline on the commitment ending with the elections. "We should be a willing hand for them until their affairs are settled ... we ought to be making certain that this is a nation that succeeds." Mr Beazley said it would be easier to provide troops for situations of unrest in the region if so many Australia soldiers were not tied up in Iraq. (news.com.au)
AFP denies cause of Timor crime spree
September 5, 2006 - 10:25AM - © 2006 AAP
The Becora prison breakout in East Timor last week has not led to an increase in crime, the head of the Australian Federal Police in the country says. "Certainly the Becora prison break out hasn't seen any difference or escalation in crime itself," Commander Steve Lancaster told ABC Radio. Commander Lancaster said a major problem was boredom. "We still have a lot of people out there who just join in and have nothing much better to do other than get involved in a good rock fight." The prison breakout on August 30 involved well known militiaman Major Alfredo Reinado and 56 other men. Commander Lancaster said troubled generally was isolated to particular areas of Dili. "It's just particular areas of Dili which create problems. "I'd say there are about three or four areas, and other than that most of Dili is still relatively safe and people walk around doing their normal business," Commander Lancaster said. He called on Major Reinado to see common sense and hand himself in. "I certainly hope that Reinado ... really sees commonsense and gets back and comes back into custody and sorts this out peacefully. That's the same for the 56 other people," Commander Lancaster said. Police forces will increase as a United Nations force arrives in East Timor. "They (UN) will have a full complement virtually by December so the military, I think, will remain as is and the police will start drawing up and I think will complement each other and hopefully settle down the current crime or levels of gang violence around the city at the moment," Commander Lancaster said. (The Age)
Timor, where freedom comes at a cost 4 September 2006 First Post With an average annual income of $360, East Timor, one of the world's youngest nations, is also one of its poorest. In recent months, riots have added to the problems by causing a refugee crisis in the capital Dili, with thousands living in camps spread all over the city. The city seems deserted, and the only cars in the streets are a few taxis and the convoys of white jeeps driven by the aid workers of the countless NGOs that are active here. The young nation's proud mother is the United Nations. Since its birth in 2002, when Indonesian occupation ended, the UN has praised East Timor as a shining example of successful nation building. However, the presence of so many helpers has created a dangerous parallel economy - the peacemaker bubble. According to the World Bank, Asia's poorest country is also one of its most expensive. The thousands of foreign helpers have created their own world of high-priced bars, hotels and restaurants. A small beer usually costs $2 and mid-ranged hotel prices of $45 a night - way beyond the means of locals - are normal. As a result, most of East Timor's social life focuses on pleasing Westerners, whose money hardly ever reaches the Timorese. This peacemaker economy is likely to grow further as an enlarged UN-mandate passed the Security Council last week. Even the Timorese prime minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, admits half of the UN's personnel will be used just to guard its own presence. East Timor needs a sustainable, low-cost economy in order to attract private investment. One can only hope that one day the UN and NGOs take their high prices home - along with their white jeeps. (First Post)
Security Dominates Trilateral Talks in East Timor By Phil Mercer - Sydney 04 September 2006
Australia and Indonesia have held talks with East Timor in Dili, amid continuing instability in the fledgling nation. Australia emphasized its lasting commitment to East Timor but wants East Timor to start standing on its own feet.
East Timor's Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta and Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer agreed that security is improving in East Timor, but that more help is needed before stability can be assured in the troubled infant state. Mr. Horta wants foreign troops - from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal - to stay in his country. But debate continues about how much military support is needed for a planned United Nations police contingent. Before leaving Australia for the East Timor talks, Downer had hinted in a cut of the Australian troop presence. After Monday's talks, he stressed Australia's continued commitment, including military support, no matter what the circumstances are facing East Timor. Downer and Indonesia's Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda met Monday in Dili with East Timor's leaders to discuss ways to increase security in the tiny country. Last week, more than 50 inmates escaped from a prison in Dili, led by the charismatic Major Alfredo Reinado. He is suspected of orchestrating some of the violence that shook East Timor earlier this year and had been arrested on charges of attempted murder. The fugitives are still on the run. And, after weeks of relative calm, there has been new gang violence in Dili following the escape. Shots were fired and serious injuries have been reported. The East Timorese government had accused international peacekeepers of not providing enough security outside the jail, making the escape possible. In response, Downer said East Timor must do more to fend for itself. "The East Timorese have to accept responsibility now, because they're an independent country, for their own affairs," he said. "And they have to learn to find solutions to their own problems, not just expect the international community indefinitely to solve all those problems for them." The fugitive leader, Reinado, led a group of 600 disaffected soldiers who had been dismissed after going on strike after complaining of discrimination within the army. Clashes with loyalist forces caused chaos throughout the country and forced thousands of people from their homes in Dili. The United Nations has agreed to deploy more than 1,600 international police to East Timor. (VOA)
Downer urges UN to bolster E Timor force
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Reporter: Paul Lockyer
After a day of high level security talks in Dili, Australia has called for a more robust United Nations military presence in East Timor. The Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, met his Indonesian counterpart and the East Timorese Prime Minister and President.
PAUL LOCKYER: After a day of high level security talks in Dili, Australia has called for a more robust United Nations military presence in East Timor. The Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, met his Indonesian counterpart and the East Timorese Prime Minister and President. He then told reporters that a 350-strong UN force would not be enough to back up the new international contingent of 1,600 police. ALEXANDER DOWNER, FOREIGN MINISTER: We obviously continue to be concerned about the security situation, the outbreaks of violent incidents, though, um, the advice I have is that the situation is somewhat better than it has been. PAUL LOCKYER: Mr Downer also said that Australia could not be blamed for last week's security lapse, which saw 57 prisoners, including Alfredo Reinado, break out of jail. UN authorities have publicly appealed to the rebel leader to turn himself in. (ABC Lateline)
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