Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 24 February 2005

[Poster's note: Long repeat UN release 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 Thursday, 24 February 2005

Australia seeks to defer Timor boundary ruling

Australia says the decision on a permanent seabed boundary with Timor-Leste should be deferred for up to 100 years to allow oil and gas projects to go ahead. Australia will put the timetable to Timor-Leste at boundary negotiations, which are set to resume in the Australian capital, Canberra, in the second week of March.

Australian officials say a permanent boundary in the Timor Sea should be deferred until after oil and gas resources have been exploited, which would put off any decision for up to 100 years. If Timor-Leste agrees to the "creative solution", it would open the way for the $US39 billion Greater Sunrise project, which has been stalled by the boundary dispute.

The previous round of talks broke down in Dili in September because of what Australian officials call Timor-Leste's ambit claims. A senior diplomat says that Australia is offering Timor-Leste revenue beyond the established royalty formula to defer the boundary issue and let resource projects go ahead. (ABC)

Horta publicizes Humanitarian Prize

Timor-Leste's Foreign Minister, Dr Jose Ramos-Horta, yesterday announced the establishment of three prizes by the Peace and Democracy Foundation to be awarded to people who have excelled in the areas of peace, human rights and the environment. Each prize, worth $US5,000 (STL reports $50,000), will be awarded annually, not only to Timorese, but also to individuals or groups in the Asia and Pacific region, who have made a significant contribution in these fields.

Dr Ramos-Horta, who is the Director of the Peace and Democracy Foundation, said that the Foundation chose these three areas because they are all linked to development. He said that the Foundation would now translate an explanation of the prizes into Tetum and Indonesian and invite both Timorese and foreigners to submit their names to be considered as recipients of the awards. He added that by awarding the peace or human rights prize to a foreigner would help promote Timor-Leste's name abroad. However, the environment prize will only be awarded to a Timorese person in an attempt to encourage Timorese to work for a better environment.

Dr Ramos-Horta also said that the human right prize will be named after the former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste, the late Sergio Vieira de Mello prize. (Timor Post, STL)

No contradiction between Truth Commission and UN body

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Jose Ramos-Horta, said that there is no contradiction between the Truth and Friendship Commission and the UN's Commission of Experts (CoE) as both will have separate missions. He said the CoE will be a United Nations taskforce which will work for two months, while the Truth and Friendship Commission will work for two years. According to Horta, the Truth and Friendship Commission will have more clout than the CoE because it has the support of both Presidents behind it. He said that Indonesia has already accepted the Terms of Reference for the Commission and it will be formally accepted in the very near future.

Meanwhile, Ramos-Horta said that the government welcomes the CoE because he is confident that its members will have a practical aim and will not have any intention to cause problems between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Ramos-Horta also said that it is hoped that the CoE will also assist the Truth and Friendship Commission to some extent. (Timor Post, STL)

Coelho comments on Truth Commission

The Secretary General of the Timor Socialist Party (PST), Avelino Coelho, has questioned the 'truth' aspect of the Truth and Friendship Commission. He said that while he may support the government's initiative in principle, it depends on what kind of truth the government is looking for. If 'truth' is just apologizing for the crimes that one has committed, then that it's not 'truth', according to Coelho. He also questioned what was meant by the term 'friendship', saying that Timor-Leste has already created a degree of friendship with Indonesia via diplomatic, commercial, cultural and educational relations, as well as travels by Timorese to Indonesia and vice versa. Coelho said that the PST would like to know clearly the mandate and objectives of the Commission. (Timor Post)

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