Subject: UNOTIL's Daily Media Review 8 February 2006

[Poster's note: Repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list (info@etan.org) have been removed.]

UNOTIL

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Wednesday, 08February 2006

National Media Reports

Collection of veteran data to close in March

The collection of the veteran data at the village level will close this coming March so that the veterans whose names have been included will receive recognition from the Government in August. Speaking after a three-day veterans seminar held from 6-8 February, President Xanana Gusmão told journalists that the objective of the seminar was to bring together the veterans to discuss the resistance, political and military structures, so that they be will enshrined as a part of Timorese history. (STL)

Xanana: CCF bringing population to surrender not true

According to President Xanana Gusmão, accusations of members of the Fretilin Central Committee said to have brought the population to surrender is not true. Speaking at the veteran's seminar at the Presidential Palace yesterday, the President said that these kinds of issues should not be used to accuse but rather as conceptual analysis in order to arrive at a decision on the kind of criteria to be used. He said that the issue of surrender is a difficult one to define because in some cases traitors can be defined as heroes, and heroes as traitors. (TP)

Bassarewan: No money from Petroleum Fund has been spent

Responding to the concerns of some opposition parties and members of the community that the Government is not properly utilizing the Petroleum Fund money that is stored with the Banking and Payments authority, Vice-Minister for Planning and Finance Aicha Bassarewan has stated that the Government has not yet spent any of the money. To use the money would require not the Government's but the people's approval, via their representatives in the National Parliament. Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Bassarewan said that the Government must present its proposal for fiscal spending to the National Parliament for approval, and therefore it is not possible for the Government to spend the money inappropriately. (TP)

Lasama Ready for Tribunal to Investigation Him on 14 February 2006

Timor Post reports that President of the Democratic Party (PD), Fernando Lasama, has confirmed that he will be investigated by the Dili District Tribunal on 14 February 2006, in relation to the case against Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri accusing him of accepting bribes.

Lasama stated he is ready to be investigated but also added that Prosecutor-General, Longuinhos Monteiro, who is the defence lawyer for the Government is reluctant to speak about the case. Monteiro told media on Monday (06/02) that he believes that the Deputy Prosecutor, João Carreira, will speak on this issue because he will be attending to this matter. Monteiro added that he would like to lead this case, but he unfortunately has other important matters to address outside of Timor-Leste.

Lasama appealed to those attending the scheduled hearing that he will clarify to the tribunal what has already been outlined during his recent press conference. (TP)

Construction House for Veterans

President of the Council of the Ministers, Antonio Bianco, said that Timor-Leste Government is currently holding on-going discussions with representatives of the Government of China regarding the planned construction of houses for identified veterans. Plans are in the second phase which concerns sending technical experts to regions and districts in the country to determine whether the houses will be centrally or regionally located.

Bianco said he hopes that the technical assessment can be completed shortly. Another meeting will be held in the presence of the Prime Minister to decide upon the location. After being endorsed by the Prime Minister, a final report will be submitted to the Government of China for review. According to data gathered by a spokesperson from the Chinese Government, approximately 100 veterans including those who have no homes and are retired will be considered as recipients. (TP)

RTTL News Headlines 08-02-2006

Seminar on former Resistance and National Liberation of Combatant;

President Xanana Gusmao stated that the three-day seminar held in Palacio Das Cinzas from the 6-8/2 was to consolidate the former Resistance and National Liberation of Combatant structure and to clarify the resistance and past experience to the young people. Gusmao stated that every body knows about the resistance, but not every body is clear about the process. Regarding the Government-supported subsidy for the 36 ex-combatants, Gusmão stated that he didn't know what criteria the Government had used. Gusmão said that the veteran law is still being debated and that he worries problems may arise in the future.

UNDP and University of Indonesia sign Agreement;

RTTL reported that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed an agreement with the Indonesian University, UI on Tuesday to conduct a second evaluation of poverty in Timor-Leste. The Agreement was reportedly signed at the office of Statistic Department in Caicoli, Dili, by the Representatives of UNDP and UI respectively and was witnessed by the Vice Minister for Planning and Finance.

STAE: Workshop to the election preparation;

The Ministry of State-STAE held a workshop yesterday in STAE office. Valentin Ximenes, Vice Minister of State, said that the objective of the workshop was to strengthen the technical secretary and to develop strategies and plans for the upcoming elections. Regarding the electoral law, Ximenes stated that the Government passes it to National Parliament for debate and approval.

Ministry of Education and Culture made Curriculum for University;

RTTL reported that Ministry of Education and Culture yesterday held a workshop in the Ministry of Education and Culture hall. The objective of the workshop was to produce a curriculum for the University School in Timor Leste.

Regional Media Reports

The looming conflict over West Papua

February 8, 2006: They worry that Australia could become an advocate for Papuan independence.

Indonesia is fearful of Australian support for Papuan independence, writes Hugh White.

In Jakarta, they fear that one of their worst nightmares may be coming to life. For years, Indonesians who know Australia have worried about what happens if the simmering independence movement in West Papua starts to catch the attention and sympathy of the wider Australian community. They fear a repetition of East Timor.

This is the lens through which Indonesia is watching Australia's response to the 43 Papuan asylum seekers now being processed on Christmas Island. A grant of asylum by Australia would mean that Canberra accepts their claims of murderous persecution. And once living in Australia, these people would be free to mount a campaign to promote independence for Papua.

Indonesia's worst fears will have been confirmed by the way politicians from opposite sides of Australian politics have expressed support for the asylum seekers since they have arrived. If this process continues, and public pressure starts to grow in Australia, what would be the chances that any Government in Canberra would stick with the oft-repeated formula about supporting Indonesia's territorial integrity? After East Timor, few in Jakarta are in any doubt. They worry that Australia would dump the bilateral relationship, and become an active, and potentially very effective, advocate on the world stage for Papuan independence.

The Indonesians have a point. It would be tough for any Government in Canberra to put concerns for the bilateral relationship with Jakarta ahead of growing public support for Papuan independence. That would look like going back to the bad old days that both sides of Australian politics have now repudiated, when the foreign policy elites ignored public sentiment and appeased Jakarta over East Timor.

This is why Indonesia's President called John Howard to talk about the issue. This is why the Indonesian ambassador in Canberra, and his Foreign Minister in Jakarta, have both warned that the relationship could be damaged by an Australian decision to grant asylum. And this is why Canberra is treading so carefully.

To understand just how sensitive the issue is in Jakarta, we need to take account of how they see both the Papuan issue, and Australia's role in it. Unlike East Timor, Papua was part of the old Dutch East Indies. That makes it central to Indonesia's image of itself as a nation, because the nation is defined by its succession to the former Dutch colonial holdings. Indonesia's success in wrestling Papua from the Dutch, who initially withheld it from the new nation, is one of Indonesia's proudest achievements.

Dealing with the independence movement in Papua is one of Indonesia's major challenges. In last year's state of the nation address, President Bambang Susilo Yudhoyono listed it as agenda item one in his program, along with the peace agreement in Aceh. He has been prepared to promote a quite far-reaching special autonomy package for Papua. But others in Indonesia are less accommodating, and there is significant evidence that elements of the Indonesian military are repeating some of the repressive tactics that have done so much damage elsewhere. Even with good intentions it is hard for Jakarta to send consistent messages to the people of Papua about their future.

However, all sides in Jakarta agree on one thing: they utterly reject independence. And they bitterly resent what they see as outside interference in the issue. As Indonesia's impressive Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono said over the weekend: "We feel that Indonesia's unity and cohesion would be threatened by foreign intrusion and concern."

And of all foreigners, it is Australia's intrusion that Indonesians fear the most. Since we led the international response in East Timor in 1999, there has been a bizarre but tenacious belief among many Indonesians - even those who know and like Australians - that we have a plan to snatch Papua from Indonesia, just as we did East Timor. Many seem to believe that Australia is deliberately fanning the independence movement.

Some even think we are planning a military operation like Interfet to take over Papua when the time is ripe. These ideas are, of course, completely wrong, but when one explains to Indonesians that Australia has no interest in an independent Papua, they say: "Yes, but that is what you said about East Timor once, too."

Our Government, to be fair, is scrupulous in affirming that Australia does not support Papuan independence. But they also help to fuel the paranoia in Jakarta: more than one minister has described Australia as having "liberated" East Timor, whereas in fact - as the East Timorese Truth and Reconciliation Commission has recently reminded us - for most of 1999 Australia still hoped that East Timor would remain part of Indonesia. We can hardly complain if some Indonesians misunderstand what we were doing in 1999, if we misrepresent it ourselves. (Theage.com.au)

National News Sources Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional Seminario Lia Foun (LF) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]

These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office


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