|Subject: east timor headlines/21June2001
1. Regulation for the creation of armed forces approved (Timor Post, front page second lead)
The regulation for the creation of the armed forces of Timor Lorosae was approved yesterday by the National Council three months after it was introduced.
The regulation contains 24 articles with Falintil forming the core of the armed forces. The regulation was passed by the NC unanimously.
In the regulation, the officer ranks have been classified as brigadier-general, colonel, lieutenant-colonel, major, captain, lieutenant and assistant lieutenant.
The regulation also states that an armed forces member cannot be a member of a political party, an organization or a group. However, the regulation states an armed forces member could cast his or her vote in a general election when exercising their democratic rights.
2. Taur Matan Ruak: I fought for 24 years not for a rank (Suara Timor Lorosae, front page second lead)
The armed forces of Timor Lorosae (FDTL) will defend and protect the country. Because of this, when Falintil was transformed into the FDTL, the armed forces members knew of their commitment to protect the sovereignty of the country.
This was stated yesterday by the FDTL Commander Brigadier-General Taur Matan Ruak.
Speaking to reporters at independence leader Xanana Gusmao’s birthday party, Taur Matan Ruak there were rumours circulating that several FDTL members were not happy about the allotment of ranks to others.
“These people are becoming unnecessarily emotional,” added Taur Matan Ruak.
“Those who fought in the independence struggle did not do so for the sake of ranks. They fought because they believed in their commitment to the country,” said Taur Matan Ruak.
“The allotment of ranks is the result of all parties concerned who worked very hard. The trainers worked hard, the FDTL members worked hard and UNTAET worked hard. Everyone contributed towards the setting up of the FDTL.”
Taur Mtan Ruak said five FDTL members were selected to be lieutenant-colonels and one member a colonel.
3. Xanana declares solidarity with Aung San Suu Kyi (Suara Timor Lorosae, front page third lead)
East Timor’s independence leader Xanana Gusmao yesterday declared the country’s solidarity with Burma’s democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi who is currently under house arrest.
Xanana made this announcement at his birthday party in Dili.
“Not many people know that Aung San Suu Kyi has worked hard for democracy and has forged solidarity links with the East Timorese people. Because of that, it is my responsibility to reciprocate that solidarity and thank and encourage her on her continuing struggle,” Xanana told his guests.
Xanana also inaugurated the “Friends of Burma” group in Dili, to campaign for democracy in the military-ruled Southeast Asian nation. Friends of Burma is led by Xanana’s wife, Kirsty Gusmao, and its office premises are in the Xanana Reading Room a popular spot in the capital.
“Aung San Suu Kyi was with us when we were suffering in hell. Now that we have overcome that hell, we must not forget her,” said Xanana.
4. The appointment of the Timor Lorosae army (Suara Timor Lorosae, editorial page 5)
Today 277 Timor Lorosae Armed Forces (FDTL) members, after undergoing four months of intensive training in Aileu, will officially be appointed as the country’s first soldiers.
FDTL, now, moves into new horizons. The peace, stability and security of the country are their top most priorities. But these priorities can only be achieved if the people cooperate with the FDTL.
Certain flashpoints still remain: the border with West Timor, for instance, still has skirmishes from time to time. The FDTL, at the border, will be working closely with the PKF to ensure stability.
If there is destabilization, it is for certain that the people will again suffer. Because of this, we must put our past behind us and not question the backgrounds of the FDTL members. On the other hand, FDTL members must also display unity within the ranks. If there is no unity, among all, we will again be divided.
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