Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 18 February 2005

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

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Friday, 18 February 2005

Commission B supports proposed UNMISET extension

The deputy head of Commission B in the National Parliament, tasked with issues concerning national security and foreign affairs, Clementino dos Reis Amaral, has welcomed the proposal by Timor-Leste’s leaders for a one-year extension of UNMISET. He believes that the extension is related to security and defense issues, particularly since there have been some murders and militia infiltration in border areas recently. He said that other countries wishing to aggravate Timor-Leste would think twice while there is still a UN mission here. Apart from that, it is an honour to have a UN presence in Timor-Leste, according to Clementino.

Clementino also added that there are several other reasons why he supports the extension of the mission, including the presence of foreign staff and their assistance to the local economy as well as the benefit of employment for Timorese who work for the mission. Clementino said that he does not see anything negative about the UN mission here, and that if need be, the mission should remain until the upcoming elections. “We never know what problems may arise then”, he said. (STL)

Parliament supports Truth and Friendship Commission

Members of the National Parliament from various political factions including UDT, PDC and Fretilin, have lent their support to the initiative of the President and government in establishing a Truth and Friendship Commission with Indonesia. Head of the UDT faction, Alexandre Corte Real, said whilst he supports the initiative, the creation of the Commission should not mean that the crimes committed in 1999 are forgotten. He said that justice through the courts is still a priority.

Lucio Marcal Gomes, vice-President of PDC, said that the agreement that was made regarding the 1999 referendum in Timor-Leste involved three parties, Portugal, Indonesia and the United Nations. All gave the responsibility for security during the elections to Indonesia. Therefore, according to Lucio, these three parties should all be involved in the Truth and Friendship Commission. Lucio added that while the Commission is a commendable initiative, it must be transparent, democratic and strong.

The head of the Fretilin faction in the Parliament, Francisco Mirando Branco, said that while he supported this initiative, he also does not support the creation of the Commission if its intent is to forget the crimes of 1999. (Timor Post)

UNMISET to donate assets worth $35-million to government of Timor-Leste

The United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) has handed over nearly 30 per cent of the $35-million worth of assets to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. In February last year, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution approving the donation of UN owned equipment to the Government of Timor-Leste with a total inventory value of $35 million.

According to UNMISET’s Douglas Manson, who co-chairs the Steering Committee for Donations with the Secretary of State for Public Works, Communications and Transport, Mr. Joao Baptista Fernandes Alves, the handing over of assets to government is normal practice in all UN missions, but rarely is it done in such a magnitude.

“This is our way of ensuring that the Government of Timor-Leste is able to continue to carry out its functions effectively once UNMISET completes its mandate in the country on 20 May,” said Mr. Manson. “The establishment of a Joint UNMISET and Government Steering Committee to adequately oversee the Mission’s overall liquidation plan ensures that the entire process is most effective. In addition, having a representative from Government co-chairing the Steering Committee has also proved to be important for this enormous process to run as smoothly as possible,” he added. Once the assets are handed over, the Government has sole responsibility over them.

On the list of property still to be donated to the Government is office data processing equipment currently being used for example by the Serious Crimes Unit; medical equipment, including a laboratory and surgical theatre; communications equipment; generators as well as vehicles.

The liquidation process of UNMISET assets has been ongoing since 2002 but will increase when the mandate of the mission ends on 20 May 2005. The last phase, which will involve the handing over of 12 properties, including UNMISET’s current headquarters at Obrigado Barracks as well as the Transport and Engineering compound, will take place from 1 July to 30 September. (Press Release: UNMISET)

President Xanana Promulgates Law on Superior Council of State and Security

President Xanana Gusmão officially promulgated the Law on Superior Council of State and Security. Aside from promulgating it, the President also inaugurated the office of the Council, which was built with funding received from the Indonesian Bank of Mandiri.

The promulgation ceremony of the Council was attended by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, Minister of Justice, Domingos Sarmento, members of the diplomatic corps, as well as SRSG Sukehiro Hasegawa. (Timor Post)

National Parliament Opens Again Candidacy for Provedor for Human Rights and Justice

National Parliament this week re-opened the candidacy for Provedor for Human Rights and Justice. The Christian Democratic Party (PDC) proposed the names of two candidates for the post - one from civil society and another a Member of the Parliament. The name of Aderito de Jesus Soares, a prominent Timorese lawyer representing civil society who had been nominated before, was also made public yesterday. PDC Representative Antonio Ximenes said he very much hoped that other parties could soon present their candidates so that the election process for the post could be accelerated. (Timor Post)

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