Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review 31 January 2007

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

Wednesday, 30 January 2007


National Media Reports

MPs Ask PM To Resign

Francisco Xavier do Amaral (ASDT) and Pedro da Costa (PST) have called for Prime Minister Ramos-Horta's resignation for failing to resolve the political military crisis and the confrontation between martial arts groups, reported STL Tuesday. According to both MPs, since taking the role as Prime Minister, Ramos-Horta promised many things and made decisions without taking proper measures. Xavier do Amaral further said that the Ramos-Horta government has remained silent during the violence between rival groups and therefore he considers ‘this government' ill fated and thinks that Ramos-Horta has compromised with some people in maintaining the country destabilized. Pedro da Costa said the violence in Timor-Leste derives from various interests; from having political leaders that want to run the country for a long term to those with international interests that want to maintain that presence in the country. (STL)

PM Do Not Accept Protest Demands

Prime Minister Ramos-Horta said he does not accept the protesters putting pressure on the judiciary system currently in process, adding that the court, which is carrying out its role independently and impartially has to be respected. He said the people holding the demonstration are wrong and he is not going to allow it to happen, stressing that the court would be the one to make a decision even if it takes a month or two. The Minister said the justice processes are in the hands of the court and he does not agree that any group should pressure the courts. He refuse to further comment on the judiciary system noting that the UN is providing assistance and one must not forget that Timor-Leste is a new nation. MUNJ spokesperson, Nino Pereira said if Rogerio Lobato and Mari Alkatiri are not confined the protest will continue. (STL)

UIR Entitle To Use Big Weapons

In a ceremony held on Monday for the reactivation of 38 members of UIR, Prime Minister Ramos-Horta told the officers not to be scared to act against the people creating violence and destabilizing the country for fear of human rights abuse accusations. Ramos-Horta said if anyone criticizes them of human rights abuse they should directly speak to him. He added that he personally requested UNMIT to speed up the re-integration of UIR and that the officers would be entitled to carry big weapons and pistols.

Minister of Interior Alcino Barris also informed that soon PNTL Transit Unit would be reactivated. In relation to the MUNJ protest, he said his Ministry received a letter from the organization that was unclear. Some of the population from Raihun, Ailoklaran and Matadouro claimed they had to flee their homes following the violence between rival groups as well as receiving threats from unknown groups with guns, rama ambons, grenades and machetes. The population sought refuge in the IDPs camps. Two sisters who fled to the nuns' compound in Balide said they were threatened by the groups from Dare who told them to leave their crop plantation, not to take anything from their houses or they would burn it and seek refuge in the camps. A girl from Manumeta Raihun said the Australian forces did not act to the groups that threatened the population there because they had guns. (STL)

UNMIT Hopes Alfredo's Case Will Be Resolved Soon

Speaking to the media following the high level meeting in the Presidential Palace on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva said UNMITs DSRSJ Eric Tan is working to find a solution to Major Alfredo's case before the elections. Da Silva said the high level meeting focused on many issues including election preparations. (TP)

Government Will Compensate Information Required

The Government will establish a decree law to compensate Timorese who wishes to collaborate with the police and the State with information on criminals. Prime Minister Ramos-Horta said if anyone provides accurate information, which will lead to the detention of the criminals, these people would be awarded with materials worth between US$25-and US$25,000. He further said the government he is leading would request the Parliament to establish legislations to authorize the police to enter and inspect houses hiding weapons, stressing that all means must be used to detain the criminals who are trying to challenge the government's strength. (TP)

RTTL news headlines

Government Signs Construction Agreement With PRC

The Governments of Timor-Leste and the People's Republic Of China signed an agreement on Monday on the construction of the Presidential Palace. Minister of Public Works, Odete Vitor said the government sent a letter to Australian Brigadier Rerden in November requesting the troops to vacate the area in order to proceed with the construction implementation. The Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Timor-Leste confirmed that the construction will start in the month of February.

Government Of TL Prepares Budget For Dam

The government of Timor-Leste has allocated 90 million [billion] for the electricity project in Hiralalaro. Deputy Prime Minister Estanislau da Silva said the government of Sweden is supporting the project, which is crucial for the country. The international tender will officially be open to the public soon.

Government of Japan Donates Vehicles

The Government of Japan has donated 3 fire fighter trucks to the government of Timor-Leste to support the work of the fire brigades at the airport. The trucks are worth 800 million US dollars.

Elections Will Proceed Successfully: PM Ramos-Horta

Prime Minister Ramos-Horta said despite the use of illegal guns by some groups, he has faith in the UN deployed here to provide maximum security for the 2007 elections and believes it will be a success. According to Ramos-Horta the UN has had many experiences in assisting the elections process in countries in far more difficult situations than that of Timor-Leste such as Haiti, Afghanistan and Iraq. He reiterated that the elections will not be postponed. The Prime Minister appealed to groups in possession of illegal weapons to voluntarily hand them in to the authorities.

Rogerio Lobato Trial: Martins Aware Of Distributions Of Equipments

Former PNTL Commissioner Paulo de Fatima Martins stated during the trial today that he did not know about the distribution of guns and uniforms by the then Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato. Although he was the commander and in charge of the police force warehouse, Martins said he was not aware of the distribution of equipment. According to him in 2005 he met with the former Minister to recruit civilian or former combatants that were part of the civil protection group with the aim to act on the militia infiltration in the borders. He said the recruitment did not include Railos group. He said he continued to receive orders from the Minister via telephone to react to the situation following the petitioners' protest which resulted in damages to the government palace building and cars. To try and resolve the situation, former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri called a meeting at his house which was attended by himself, the Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato, Minister of Defence Roque Rodriques, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Ramos-Horta and F-FDTL Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak after Major Alfredo had defected from the army. During the meeting, Foreign Minister Ramos-Horta questioned Minister Rogerio Lobato about the distribution of guns but he did not give a clear answer, stated Paulo Martins. The former PNTL Commissioner further stated that the crisis was neither his nor Rogerio's Lobato fault. It was the government failure for not dealing sooner with the petitioners' problems. Paulo Martins will give more statements Tuesday. Witness Felix Da Costa, Administrator of Maubara also testified on Monday and said claims by Railos on the allege distribution of guns by Rogerio Lobato to civilians is false.

International Media Reports

Australia Gives Nod to Timor Sea Gas Projects

Australian Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane on Monday granted Major Project Facilitation (MPF) status to speed development of two major Timor Sea gas projects.

The Timor Sea LNG Project and the Tassie Shoal Methanol Project involve development of gas accumulations in the region, including the Epenarra gas discovery in the exploration permit area awarded in 2004 to Methanol Australia Limited, now known as MEO Australia Limited. “These projects will further develop Australia's valuable petroleum resources and serve the rapidly expanding markets in the Asia Pacific region," Mr Macfarlane said.

"Australia also has lower sovereign risk and is highly competitive compared with other LNG-producing countries.

"MEO Australia Limited proposes to use advanced engineering concepts including the world's first offshore LNG production and loading facility. The LNG and methanol production facilities could also act as a hub to encourage the development of stranded gas discoveries in adjoining fields."

Mr Macfarlane said the LNG project and the adjoining methanol project would share common infrastructure on Tassie Shoal, a shallow area in the Bonaparte Basin, about 275 km north of Darwin.

"The new offshore facilities are expected to produce about 3 million tonnes of LNG a year and about 5,000 tonnes of methanol a day," Mr Macfarlane said.

"As well as providing a boost to Australia's exports, the projects offer considerable scope for economic benefits to Darwin.

"Each project will generate approximately 500 local jobs during the construction phase. Both are expected to create approximately 110 ongoing jobs when they are operational."

Mr Macfarlane said MPF status meant the Australian Government's inward investment agency, Invest Australia, would work with MEO Australia Limited to progress the projects through the approvals process and identify relevant government programs that may assist the projects.

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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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