Subject: East Timor press /19 March 2001

East Timor press headlines /19 March 2001

Translations from TP= Timor Post and STL= Suar Timor Lorosae

  1. Xanana Gusmao: CNRT To Be Officially Dissolved in June (STL)
  2. Official, East Timor Elections On 30 August (STL) 
  3. Simultaneous Civil Registration of inhabitants of East Timor (STL)

Xanana Gusmao: CNRT To Be Officially Dissolved in June (STL/19/3/01)

CNRT/NC president, Xanana Gusmao announced that CNRT would be officially dissolved in June in response to the on-going political process in the country. "In June, CNRT will close as its role will be taken over by the on-going political process," said Xanana, President of CNRT/NC in an interview with Radio UNTAET that is quoted by STL on 18/3. According to him, after the CNRT National Congress of 30 August 2000, its role has been diminished with the participation of a number of NGOs, both local and international. The UN has also demanded that CNRT be dissolved.

Answering questions on his role as a figure of unity in coordinating CNRT and his future role after CNRT is dissolved, Xanana said that his role is that of an ordinary citizen in the establishment of democratic institutions in East Timor. Xanana said, "The theory of myself as a figure of unity is only valid till 20 August 2000." Xanana said that CNRT has tried to unite all political forces towards independence. However, he continued, that was achieved when the majority of the people of East Timor voted for independence during the Referendum.

"At this moment, the UN has tried to lay a strong democratic base in society and political parties have been formed in preparation for the independence process," he continued. He said that only political parties that are legitimate to take part in the elections would be able to govern East Timor. Xanana also admitted that after the CNRT National Congress, it was no longer the uniting body, because FRETILIN and UDT withdrew from CNRT at that moment. He stressed, "I do not possess the power to unite political parties that are conscious and guarantee the unity of the people, political parties and stability in East Timor."

Xanana also reminded every political leaders that would be elected to be aware that they cannot perform miracles as the country is still in chaos and only will improve in 5 to 6 years' time. "I know that self-government will be difficult, therefore in my personal capacity as an ordinary citizen, I will cooperate with all sides to have dialogue to support the on-going process," he said. Because the situation is still very difficult, added Xanana, all sides must again be ready to sacrifice meaningfully. However, it is still very hard to have the patience to understand the situation.

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Official, East Timor Elections On 30 August (STL/19/3/01)

On Friday (16/3), the Transitional Administrator of UNTAET Sergio Vieria de Mello officially designated 30 August 2001 as the first free general elections day of East Timor. De Mello signed the decree that fixed the start of the preparation for elections of members of the assembly. These people's representatives will be tasked with making the constitution before full independence, possibly next year. 30 August is full of significance for East Timorese because it is the second anniversary of the historical referendum in East Timor that resulted in East Timor's separation from Indonesia.

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Simultaneous Civil Registration of inhabitants of East Timor (STL/19/3/01)

Registration of inhabitants has begun simultaneously in the whole of East Timor, although it got off on a slow start. The registration is part of a process for three months that will register an estimated 800,000 inhabitants. Civil registration offices opened simultaneously in East Timor with the exception of Viqueque district because of security concern. At the moment, the number of people registering seems low. But this is foreseen. According to officials from the civil registration offices, the number will increase in the coming days.

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