Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 2 February 2005

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Wednesday, 2 February 2005

Timor set to welcome oil and gas explorers

Timor-Leste is set to open its doors to a growing queue of foreign oil and gas explorers later this month when its parliament is due to pass the country's first petroleum laws. The nation's top energy official, Jose Teixeira, said representatives from more than 20 foreign companies have visited Timor-Leste in the past year ahead of the first bidding round for exploration blocks in April or May. "We have already received applications from Australian companies to compete in the bidding round. Interest is coming from everywhere, from China, Brazil, Portugal, France, you name it," he said.

There is little scientific data on potential oil and gas reserves, excluding those in the Timor Sea, which are jointly claimed by Timor-Leste and Australia. The Portuguese, who ruled Timor for hundreds of years, drilled about 20 wells onshore in the early 1970s but there was virtually no scope for any exploration activity during Indonesia's occupation. Teixeira said there was plenty of evidence to suggest that Timor-Leste was oil and gas rich. "There are definite indications of hydrocarbon deposits. Oil is seeping out of the ground along the southern coast and you can see people gathering it up. Some of them put it straight into their cars," he added. (Reuters)

Timor and Portugal broaden defence cooperation

Timor-Leste and Portugal have signed a new military cooperation accord, broadening Lisbon's aid to Dili's fledgling defence forces. The agreement capped a three-day visit to Dili by Portugal's State Secretary for Defence, Jorge Neto, who said Lisbon gave maximum priority to bilateral military cooperation because of its pivotal role in guaranteeing Timor-Leste's sovereignty and national identity. The agreement was signed yesterday by Timor-Leste's Secretary of State for Defence and Security, Roque Rodrigues, and Neto at the Memorial Hall, Farol (Lusa, STL)

Military Should be Fit and Healthy MP

Member of Parliament from KOTA party, Clementino dos Reis Amaral, has expressed disappointment at the number of Falintil-FDTL who he deems are overweight. He believes that neither military or police officers should let this happen and that it gives the impression that they are not training or fit enough. He said that the task of F-FDTL is to protect Timor-Leste from external threats. As yet, there have been very few external threats, but this does not mean that they should just sit around doing nothing. Rather, they should always be training so that they are prepared for whatever may happen in the future.

Clementino also added that F-FDTL officers need to be kept busy. He suggested they participate in a range of courses, such as language learning, as well as to go out and assist the community by building houses, educating the people about how to plant rice, sweet potato and cassava, and many other types of development activities. (STL)

Timor-Leste and Portugal sign Technical Military Cooperation Agreement

Portugal and Timor-Leste on Tuesday signed an agreement on technical military cooperation, particularly in the areas of organisation, navy and infantry. After the signing ceremony, Portugal's Secretary of State for Defence Jorge Neto told the media that Portugal is aware of the military tradition of F-FDTL, therefore the Portuguese military officers were sent into the country to assist F-FDTL in becoming a professional defence force. Meanwhile, Timor-Leste's Secretary of State for Defence Roque Rodrigues stated that he would try to send F-FDTL officers to be trained in Portugal, and also in other countries such as Australia. (TP)

Taur Matan Ruak: Preparing good soldiers takes time

Speaking to the press on Tuesday after the signing of an agreement on military technical cooperation between Portugal and Timor-Leste, Falintil-FDTL Commander Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak stated that in order to enhance the defence institution for the near future, there is a need to consider three aspects such as training, provision of adequate equipment and accommodation for the soldiers, adding that it will take time to prepare good soldiers.

Moreover, Matan Ruak said that like any other institution in the country, the military will also take time to establish, grow, and further strengthen capacity. In addition, Matan Ruak said, "the most important thing now is we know what we want, and try to put it into practice, and make it a reality".

Meanwhile, after the commemoration ceremony of F-FDTL's 4th anniversary held in F-FDTL's Headquarters in Metinaro, General Matan Ruak stated that to improve and enhance the human capacity of F-FDTL, it is not only the quantity that matters the most but it is also the quality, adding that in so doing, the defence institution would be able to prepare better commanders for the future. "I am ready to step down as a commander any time. However, I want that the one who replaces me to be much better than myself," Matan Ruak added. (TP)

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