Subject: Local Media Monitoring - June 2, 2003

From UNMISET

LOCAL MEDIA MONITORING - June 2, 2003

STL

1. Portugal and East Timor signed an accord on Friday that commits Lisbon to supporting Dili's state budget to the tune of USD 9 million during the coming year.The agreement, which states the aid funds will be released in three equal installments, was signed in Dili by Portugal's ambassador to Timor-Leste, Rui Quartin Santos, and Timor-Leste`s Finance Minister, Madalena Boavida. After the signing, Ambassador Santos described the accord as "the fulfillment of a commitment made by Portugal at the May 2002 international donor conference to fund about 10 percent of the estimated budget deficit. I want to reaffirm Portugal`s strong pledge to carry out commitments taken on. It is a realisation of strong friendship based on history, language and a common past, which we hope can continue in the future, said Santos. Boavida told the press that the agreement was "another sign of strengthening cooperation between Portugal and Timor in various areas, particularly education and the creation of a defense force".

2. In response to the Council of Ministers' approval of the new Investment Law, the Vice President of the Economy's Commission in the Parliament, Mr Manuel Tilman said that the new investment law needed complementary land ownership regulation to support the Investment Law. He said it would strengthen the law enforcement and enhance investors' confidence in doing business in Timor-Leste.

3. Timor-Leste's National Police Commander, Mr Paulo de Fatima Martins, said that the formation of a new police special force unit is very important to curb unidentified armed groups. According to Mr Martins the existing Rapid Response Unit had limitations. He said it only prevents violence within the community. "When an armed attack occurs like in Atsabe and Atabae, we need a special force unit to combat armed groups inside the country" he said. Mr Martins also gave an example of the Atsabe incident where the FDTL troops' intervention got a lot of criticism from the community because it was an internal matter that should have been handled by police. Mr Martins was speaking after the inaugural ceremony of the motorcycles unit handover from United Nations Populations Fund Agency to Timor-Leste National Police at Police Academy in Comoro last Friday.

4. In anticipation of the Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's visit to Jakarta and Kupang in June two citizens, Mr Manuel Marques and Saturnino Pereira gave their comments about the impact of the Prime Minister's visit to Indonesia and the community living near the border. They said that they hoped the Prime Minister's first official visit to Jakarta and Kupang would be used to discuss border issues especially with the Governor of East Nusa Tenggara, Mr Piet A Tallo. There are three districts (Bobonaro Suai and Oecusse) with land borders with West Timor. They said the communities living near the border depend upon the traditional trade with their counter parts in West Timor to achieve many of their basic needs.

TIMOR POST

1. East Timor's Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, makes his first official visit to Indonesia in June at the head of a delegation of senior Timorese government officials and top businessmen, an official source announced Friday. Mr Alkatiri will meet Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri as well as other Jakarta government ministers. The visit is primarily aimed at creating "good personal relations with Indonesian leaders", particularly Megawati. "We want to establish the bilateral economic and political agenda now. We also wish to resolve outstanding problems over maritime and land borders", said Alkatiri. Mr Alkatiri is also scheduled to meet with the Speaker of the Upper House, Mr Amien Rais and the Speaker of the Lower House, Mr Akbar Tanjung.

2. President Xanana Gusmao has officially inaugurated the Independence Memorial Hall building last Friday at Farol in Dili. The Independence Memorial Hall will serve as a museum and data center. The President said younger generation needs to know their independence struggle's history to look towards their future. In his speech President Gusmao said " A great nation, is a nation that respects its heroes". The building was provided by the Korean International Cooperation Agency.

3. The General Attorney, Mr Longuinhos Monteiro, said that the decision taken by the Indonesian ad-hoc tribunal to free the East Timor Armed Commander, Gen. Tono Suratman during the 1999 referendum was irrational. Mr Monteiro said this during UNMISET weekly press conference in Dili.

4. Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri criticized the sentence given by Dili's Court in the Metal Enterprise case as incorrect. According to Mr Alkatiri his name was mentioned during the process, but the judge did not call him to present his testimony in the court. Mr Alkatiri said that as a citizen he has the personal right to give testimony and to be heard. Mr Alkatiri said that he will seek an Appeals Court decision and will take the judges to the Council of Superior Magistrates to take discipline actions against them. (The Metal Enterprise's case was brought to court by the Director of ME against Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and the Secretary of State for Commerce and Industry, Mr Arlindo Rangel. In short, the case involved a claim that Government officials threatened the ME owner. It was argued by the Government side that the ME owner was doing illegal business).


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