Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 06 June 2005

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


Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Monday, 06 June 2005


TL-Portugal strengthen cooperation

The Prime Minister of Portugal Jose Socrates has accepted Timor-Leste Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri’s invitation to visit Timor-Leste. On his first official visit to Portugal, Alkatiri extended a personal invitation to Socrates to visit his country. Alkatiri and Socrates discussed various issues over a working lunch, including cooperation between Portugal and Timor-Leste in the areas of education and justice. According to the Portuguese PM, Timor-Leste’s independence was a great diplomatic victory for Portugal, and thus the Portuguese government continues to provide assistance to Timor-Leste. In a press conference following the working lunch, Alkatiri said that one of the aims of his visit to Portugal was to “attract Portuguese investors to Timor-Leste”.

Meanwhile, in his meeting with the Portuguese President, President Jorge Sampaio questioned Alkatiri about the relations between the Government and the Church in Timor-Leste. Alkatiri responded by explaining that the 19-day demonstration held recently had concluded with an accord between the concerned parties.

Speaking at a seminar later about the challenges faced in establishing a democratic state, Alkatiri said that the traditional and religious beliefs of Timorese are a major obstacle in the establishment of a democratic state. Alkatiri used the example of discrimination against women from both a traditional and religious perspective as one of the challenges currently faced by Timor-Leste. He said that manifestations of discrimination against women in Timorese society include lack of education at the secondary level, early marriage, and the payment of a bride price. (Timor Post, STL)

NGO: Petroleum funds must be audited

Local NGO La’o Hamutuk, via Coordinator Tomas Freitas, has asked that the government conduct an audit on the petroleum revenue before that revenue is transferred to the Petroleum Fund, held with the Banking and Payments Authority. Speaking to Timor Post on Friday, Freitas said that the objective of such an audit is to know whether there is an increase or decrease in the petroleum income. Freitas said that it is important also to make legal provisions for future funds, where, in a future scenario for example, Australia must pay back the money taken from the Laminaria-Corralina oil fields.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament from the Democrat Party Rui Menezes said that the Timor-Leste government has traded the sovereignty of this country for the extra $5 billion offered by Australia. Political observer from the Timor-Leste National University Valentim Ximenes also commented on the issue, saying that Timor-Leste and Australia should continue negotiations with a mediator from another country such as the United States. Ximenes asked Australia not to use the ‘East Timor case’ to take advantage of Timor-Leste and this country’s struggle, suffering and poverty, by stealing the resources in the Timor Sea. (Timor Post, STL)

Alkatiri: TL not struck by ‘resource curse’

On the second day of his official visit to Portugal, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri gave a lecture on ‘Oil Revenue and Development in Timor-Leste’ at the Mario Soares Foundation. During the lecture Alkatiri explained that the Petroleum Fund is essential in guaranteeing that Timor-Leste will be different from other oil-producing countries, in that Timor-Leste will not be struck by the ‘resource curse’. Alkatiri said that the principle of transparency is a part of the Petroleum Fund, and that “all the revenue received from the fund will be included in the Budget”. Alkatiri said that the Fund is ‘perpetual’, meaning that its objective is to guarantee the future of future generations, that they may also reap the benefits of the wealth of this country, which will one day be gone. (Timor Post)

Annan nominates Hasegawa as UNOTIL Chief

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Saturday nominated Dr. Sukehiro Hasegawa to continue as Special Representative of the Secretary General in Timor-Leste as well as Chief of the UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL). The nomination was officially announced at the UN Headquarters in New York, following the response on the nomination from the Security Council to the Secretary General. Hasegawa will also continue his work as Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Program. (Timor Post)

Bali consulate to promote culture and image

The Timor-Leste Consulate-General to be established in Bali sometime this year will conduct cooperation regarding cultural issues, as well as commercial contracts, in order to promote the culture and image of Timor-Leste. Speaking to the media, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Olimpio Branco said that Bali is an important tourist centre, and thus it is important that Timor-Leste make efforts to attract tourists to come to Timor-Leste from Bali. He said that one aspect in favour of such tourism is that there are Merpati flights between Timor-Leste and Denpasar every day. Branco said that the government has plans to open a consulate in Kupang sometime this year also, saying that the Kupang consulate is also important considering that there are many Timorese students in Kupang. Timor-Leste currently has only two consulates, one in Sydney and the other in Washington.

At the same opportunity, Branco also said that the Timor-Leste government is committed to opening an embassy in Japan, as Japan is a very important nation and has great economic potential, as well as playing an important role in the Asia-Pacific region. He said that the Japanese government has provided a lot of assistance through bilateral aid, and that the Japanese Agency JICA, as well as various Japanese NGO’s working in the districts, have also provided assistance through development projects. Branco said that apart from working to strengthen relations between Japan and Timor-Leste, the new embassy will also work to encourage Japanese investors to invest in Timor-Leste. (Timor Post)

President Xanana returns from medical consultation

President Xanana Gusmao on Saturday returned from his medical consultation in Malaysia. Although the President did not make a declaration upon disembarking at the airport, according to journalists he is still experiencing ear trouble, as he had difficulty hearing their questions. The Merpati plane which President Xanana was traveling on experienced technical difficulties upon landing in Dili, causing the staff waiting for Xanana in the VIP lounge to panic. Merpati staff confirmed that after landing one of the wheels failed to turn thus the plane was forced to wait for a vehicle to pull the plane to the disembarking area. (Timor Post)

Illegal boats enter TL waters

Five Indonesian boats illegally entered Timor-Leste waters in the Atauro area last Wednesday, causing some disconcertion among the local population. General Commander of the PNTL Paulo Martins said that the local people who saw the boats reported to the Atauro police squadron to come and have a look at the boats. As the Atauro police have no equipment to do so, they requested assistance from the Maritime Police in Dili, who also were without a boat as their boat is currently being repaired. Martins said that he also tried other methods, such as renting a boat to go and have a look at the illegal boats, but this attempt was also to no avail. Martins said that he presumes the boats had entered Timor-Leste waters to carry out illegal fishing activities. (STL)

Personal Security Concern with President’s Safety

President Gusmão’s personal security detail were concerned for his safety and tried to drive onto the airport runway as soon as they received information about technical problems with Merpati Airlines, reported Jornal Diario de Noticias on Monday. According to the newspaper the security detail were stopped by airport operational officials from proceeding. The President had returned from a medical check up in Malaysia and was reported to be a better condition. He was greeted at President Nicolau Lobato International Airport by the Minister of State and the Presidential Minister of the Council of Ministers, Ana Pessoa, Chief of Staff of the President’s Office, Agio Pereira and PNTL Commander, Paulo de Fatima Martins. (JN Diario)


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