Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 20 June 2006

UNOTIL

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Tuesday, 20 June 2006

National Media Reports

Ramos-Horta Visits Rai Los Group

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence Jose Ramos-Horta told the media Monday he met with the group affiliated with Rai Los in Leotela, Liquiça. The meeting between Rai Los and Minister Ramos-Horta, according to Suara Timor Lorosa’e (STL), lasted about an hour and was closed to the media. The Minister said people who have received guns must return them to the authorities at the request of President Gusmão who is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, stressing that Major Alfredo Reinado has shown responsibility by obeying the orders of President Gusmão and turning in weapons so that a solution to the problem via dialogue can begin, reported STL on Tuesday. In the meeting with Rai Los, the Minister said if he is asked by a Timorese to meet with him as part of the government he would do everything in his power to meet that request, regardless of where the person lives.

In a separate article, STL reported that Rai Los said he will not hand in the guns, because it is evidence to take Mari Alkatiri and Rogério Lobato to an international tribunal. According to Rai Los, the guns were allegedly given by Prime Minister Alkatiri and former Minister of Interior, Rogério Lobato to kill the petitioners, Major Alfredo, leaders of the opposition, vocal members of the Catholic Church and members of Fretilin Central Committee (CCF) who are against the politics of Mari Alkatiri. He added that if there is no justice for the behavior of Alkatiri and Lobato, they are prepared to die with the same guns given to them so that the population knows they are government militia. Rai Los reportedly said that they were given 10 HK 33 rifles and 6000 rounds of ammunitions on May 8 in the cemetery in Lauhata, Liquiça District around 10 o’clock at night. Another eight guns were given on May 21 in Masin, Maubara around 9 o’clock in the evening and further equipment such as about 31 URP complete uniforms ranging from shirts, trousers to hats, were distributed on May 23. A blue color Toyota Hilux with police number plate 15.747 and red Mitsubishi four wheel drive with police number plate 16.309 were given by Rogerio Lobato and delivered by the former Minister personal guards, Rai Los said. He added that by taking this stand he did not mean to betray Fretilin but to stand firmly with the responsibility towards the party, stressing that he agrees with the President of the Parliament, Francisco ‘Lu’Olo’ Guterres who said Fretilin did not distribute guns, but that the guns were distributed by Mari Alkatiri and Rogério Lobato to his group with specific instructions from Prime Minister Alkatiri warning them not to inform PNTL Commissioner Paulo Martins and President Gusmão about the secret plans, reported STL Tuesday. (STL)

Process has not finished: Lu’Olo

President of the National Parliament, Francisco Lu’Olo Guterres, reportedly said although Major Alfredo had already handed in the guns it does not mean the process is complete because many guns have not been turned over, reported STL Tuesday. According to Lu’Olo, the guns handed over by Alfredo is a step forward to find a solution within F-FDTL institution through dialogue. He added, dialogue is the road that will include everybody and will help to resolve the problem, but the guns must first be handed in. (STL)

Rogério’s accusation is grave

MP João Gonçalves (PSD) reportedly said he considers the accusation made by former Minister of Interior Rogério Lobato as grave in his accusation against President Gusmão, Commander PNTL, Paulo Martins and some missionaries of being involved in a State coup against Fretilin government, headed by Prime Minister Alkatiri, STL reported today. In relation to the accusation reported by the Portuguese Radio and Television (RTP), Gonçalves requested Rogério and Fretilin’s leadership to present the evidence alleging those involved in the coup against the state as stated by Rogério. According to Gonçalves, the conflict that emerged in Timor-Leste will be investigated by an international commission organized by the UN, therefore it is useless to point fingers at each other. During Monday’s plenary session of the Parliament, Francisco Guterres said his party was not aware of the accusations made by Lobato, noting that it is an individual accusation and does not represent the party. But the PSD MP said whether it is individual or not, Fretilin must be responsible for such a declaration and clarify it to the public. “One should not point fingers if there are no evidence,” he added. (STL, RTP)

International Media Reports

Australian troops on high alert for East Timor protest

Source: Agence France-Presse English Wire Date: June 20, 2006

DILI, June 20, 2006 (AFP) - Australian troops set up roadblocks around the East Timor capital Dili on Tuesday to search for weapons as crowds gathered for a major opposition rally against Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.

Peacekeepers armed with assault rifles and in full combat gear set up checkpoints on the main arteries into the city and flagged down suspicious-looking vehicles. Security has been particularly tight in recent days outside the headquarters of Alkatiri's Fretilin political party.

Ahead of the planned opposition protest, which was expected to start around 0300 GMT, crowds began to gather in the center of Dili. Some handed out leaflets calling on Alkatiri to resign.

"Mari Alkatiri is a murderer, a fraud and very stupid to lead East Timor nation," read one leaflet in English. "Mari Alkatiri must resign or we will catch him and throw him to jail," read another.

East Timor erupted in violence last month after Alkatiri sacked 600 soldiers, nearly half the nation's armed forces. The troops, who came from the west of the country, had deserted because of alleged discrimination.

The rebellion triggered in-fighting among the security forces which led to gang warfare. At least 21 people were killed and over 130,000 people fled their homes. More than 2,200 troops and police from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Portugal were sent to East Timor to restore order.

Many of the rebel soldiers have begun surrendering their weapons, but officials and analysts have said thousands of firearms are now in the hands of civilians and could be used to create further unrest.

Alkatiri, a Muslim in the predominantly Christian country, has been widely blamed for the descent into lawlessness and violence. However he has repeatedly rebuffed pressure to step down.

-0-

--

ABC Online: AFP officers to leave East Timor

The federal Justice Minister says the Australian Federal Police (AFP) will start to withdraw its officers from East Timor, as reinforcements begin to arrive this week. There are currently 200 AFP officers working to restore law and order in the troubled nation.

Chris Ellison says about 80 state and territory police will arrive in East Timor by the end of the week.

He says they will be joined by around 250 police from Malaysia and 50 from New Zealand by the end of the month.

"We will then draw down some of our AFP in view of that," he said. "We have put in 200 initially, the state and territory police are committing further police, that will then offer some relief to the AFP."

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


Back to June menu
May menu      
World Leaders Contact List
Main Postings Menu