Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review 13 February 2007

[Poster's note: Repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list ( have been removed.]

Tuesday, 13 February 2007



National Media Reports

It Would Not Be Easy To Replace Xanana: Tilman

MP Manuel Tilman said the replacement of President Xanana Gusmao would not be easy due to the problems the country is currently facing. Tilman said all the problems can be resolved following both Presidential and Parliamentary elections and Timor-Leste has been lucky to continue to have the assistance of the international community in terms of financial and humanitarian assistance. He said apart from the assistance of the international community, Timor-Leste has its own money but he classified the problem the country is facing, as a 'weak state' due lack of authority by the four main pillars of the State.

The Deputy President of Partido Democratico (PD) has stated that although his party has already elected a candidate for the Presidential election, they would continue to support Xanana if he changes his mind and decides to run for the second term. Jose Nascimento Buras said PD was the party that supported Xanana candidate in the last election hence it would be appropriate to consult with him first before presenting the party's nominee.

Mario Carrascalão, President of PSD reportedly said the President of the Republic could take a drastic or preventive decision to overcome the security situation which the government has claimed to be back to normal but the situation is seen by the population contrary to the government's claim. He said many problems remain unresolved, which according to the President of PSD is "opening the door to violence." He is of the opinion President Gusmão can contain the situation by dissolving the Parliament and the government due to the undelivered promises. Mario Carrascalão said problems might increase with the Parliamentary elections and he cannot see anyone with a better 'background' to replace Xanana and able to deal with the problems since Xanana himself could not do it. (DN).

Vehicles Checkpoints

In preparations for the elections, PNTL and UNPOL established checkpoints for vehicles to ensure the ownership, drivers' licences and to search for any illegal weapons. The checkpoint was requested by the government and is operated mainly in the capital Dili. (DN)

Court Rejects Priest Statement

In a last minute decision the court decided not hear Liquiça's Fr. Giovani's statement following a request by Lobato's defence lawyers. According to Fr. Giovani, he was scheduled to testify in court on Monday as per the court letter but was told it was no longer necessary. The priest became angry and said the court was playing around with people's dignity. He said on behalf of the Liquiça parish, he is writing a letter of complaint to the court to clear his name and the parish since a statement made in the court by the Liquiça Administrator alleged that he (Giovani) was involved with Fretilin Secret group, led by Railos. Lobato's defence lawyer, Paulo Remedios, said they did not want Fr. Giovani to testify in court because they did not know what he was going to testify.

According to Timor Post, around 400 people in 20 trucks travelled to Dili to support the priest from Liquiça parish. Supporters of the priest were attacked by unknown groups in Comoro roundabout as they travelled to Dili, leaving 10 people injured and one dead. Marcelino Serao, 30 years of age, was hit on the head with stones and died when he fell off one of the trucks. He was taken to the hospital but passed away before reaching medical assistance. His body was taken back soon after to Liquiça. One of the priests who also took part in the convoy said the people travelled to Dili to show their solidarity with Fr. Giovani who was scheduled to testify in court and they are part of Liquiça parish and were not politically motivated. (TP)

ISF Support Government Dialogue With Alfredo: Mal Rerden

Malcolm Rerden, Commander of ISF says the forces continue to support the government on the dialogue with Major Alfredo to find a solution, adding that the government had requested the international forces to provide security and to support negotiations with Alfredo. Rerden stressed that the role of the ISF is to support the international police and assist the government of Timor-Leste to maintain stability and a peaceful environment to enable the Timorese people to resolve their differences. He said the international forces would provide assistance to find a peaceful solution. In relation to Alfredo's comments that he moved from Aifu, Ermera District due to threats and interference from the ISF, Rerden said the operations of the international security are not limited only to one district but they assist the UN throughout the territory to create a secure environment conducive to the elections.

In relation to Alfredo's hearing in Gleno, claimed by Francisco Guterres 'Lu-Olo' as unconstitutional, Prosecutor General Longuinhos Monteiro suggested to Guterres' advisor to carefully read the Constitution before giving advice to Guterres. Monteiro underscored that the hearing process in Gleno has been carried out in the past by the Court and the Public Ministry, noting that Dili District Court is responsible for the judicial areas in Dili, Aileu, Liquiça and Ermera. The Prosecutor further said the request for the hearing to take place in Gleno came from Alfredo but he would consult with relevant entities before making a decision. (TP)

RTTL News Headlines

Monday 1-02-2007

PSD Will Candidate Woman

PSD will candidate a woman for the Presidential elections, said the party's President Mario Carrascalao, adding that the country needs radical changes, as the current government focus is overseas.

PD Swears-In New Members

Members of Partido Democratico (PD) new structures were swore-in on the weekend during the party's consolidation gathering. Fernando Lasama, PD President said the party is ready for the Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Alkatiri's Case Not Archived Permanently: Monteiro

Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro told the media upon his return from Australia on the weekend that the case of Maril Alkatiri can be re-opened if strong evidence emerges, adding that the case has been closed due to insufficient information to condemn him.

On the same occasion, Monteiro stressed that he does not want to work on Alfredo's case due to political interference in the justice sector.

Former Police Commissioner Testifies in Australia

Paulo Martins testified in Australia in relation to the death of five journalists in Balibo in 1975. Timor-Leste government facilitated the eyewitness at the Australian government's request, Monteiro. Martins was one of the eyewitness.

Training For Community Members

The church and the civil society are holding a five-day training for members of the community to observe the election process. Participants are from all the districts who will then train the others. It is reported that each polling station will have 2 observers.

International Day Of Health

The Bishop of Dili Diocese held a mass at the National Hospital to mark the International Day of Health. Residents living close to the hospital also attended the mass.

International Media Reports

East Timor prime minister urges U.N. Security Council to extend peacekeeping mission The International Herald Tribune-France The Associated Press Published: February 12, 2007

UNITED NATIONS: East Timor's prime minister urged the Security Council on Monday to extend the U.N. peacekeeping mission in his volatile country for one year, saying the next months will be critical as the Pacific nation prepares for its first national elections.

Security Council members were largely receptive, praising Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta, a Nobel peace laureate, for his efforts to pull the country together from political fighting last year that left at least 33 people dead and sent 150,000 people fleeing their homes.

"Building a state, from almost zero, is a Herculean task," Ramos-Horta said. "I therefore plead with you to stay the course with us."

East Timor descended into chaos in April 2006, following the dismissal of 600 soldiers by then Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, a move that split the armed forces into factions and later spilled over into gang warfare.

Calm largely returned with the arrival of more than 2,500 foreign peacekeepers and the installation of a new government, though there have been sporadic clashes.

Jose Ramos-Horta, who won the 1996 Peace Prize for championing East Timor's resistance struggle during nearly two decades in exile, took over as prime minister in July 2006 after Alkatiri resigned.

Last year's violence was the worst to hit the country of less than 1 million people since it voted to break from Indonesia in 1999. The United Nations administered East Timor until 2002, when it formally became an independent nation.

While cautioning the situation remained fragile, Atul Khare, the U.N. special representative to East Timor, commended the "tremendous efforts made by the government of Timor-Leste" to promote reconciliation, resettle displaced people, rebuild its security forces and alleviate poverty.

Security Council diplomats echoed those views as they discussed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's recommendation that the peacekeeping mission be extended for a year and an additional police unit sent ahead of the April 9 presidential elections. A decision is expected later this month.

In a report last month, Ban pointed to several unresolved issues, including the grievances of the fired soldiers demands for justice for the deaths during the violent clashes in April and May.

East Timor's former interior minister and three co-defendants are on trial for allegedly setting up political hit squads during the unrest last year.

Ramos-Horta acknowledged that East Timor's fledgling judicial system was "clearly overstretched and not prepared to deal with this post crisis scenario," but he stressed that the government "cannot accept impunity."

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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