Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review 20 November 2007

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

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

UNMIT – MEDIA MONITORING

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National Media Reports

TVTL Summary News

UNPol pistol seized: A young man on Monday (19/11) seized a pistol from an UNPol officer when the officer pointed it at crowd of youths to disperse them. The crowds attacked the officer, and one of the young men snatched the pistol away from him and took it to Parliament House where it was submitted to the PNTL.

NP needs financial report to be discussed: Fernanda Borges, the Member of the National Parliament (NP) from the National Unity Party (PUN), asked the current government to present the general financial report to NP before holding the debate in the national parliament. Ms. Borges said that the national parliament needs details on the money being spent by the current government, including funds carried over from the previous government.

Policeman assaults a lawyer in the NP: Member of NP, Fernanda Borges, said that a member of the PNTL, Sub-Inspector Mario X. de Carvalho, assaulted a private lawyer on Saturday (17/11) in the NP. The lawyer was invited by the NP to give his statement on the law of private lawyers. However, the lawyer was then beaten by a police officer. The State Secretary of Security, Francisco Guterres, said that an investigation will establish what took place.

Salsinha: the government is still not contacting us The spokesperson of the petitioners, Gastão Salsinha, declared that until now his side has not had direct contact with the current government with regards to dialogue.

"Until now we have had no direct contact from the government with regards to dialogue," said Mr. Salsinha on Monday (19/11).

Mr. Salsinha added that the petitioners' position is to wait for the government to contact them to determine an appropriate setting for a dialogue that will help find a solution to the petitioners' problem.

Mr. Salsinha also stated that the number of petitioners is 500, and they are from ten districts, and would prefer Ermera for cantonement rather than Aileu. (TP)

Lack of food: eleven places affected The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery reported that currently eleven places are facing a food shortage.

The affected areas are: Quelicai, Laga, Baucau, Watulari, Uato-Carbau, Viqueque (eastern part), Lequidoe, Aileu Vila, Remexio, Laulara and Balibo (western).

The State Secretary for Agriculture and Agronomy, Marcos da Cruz, said that the ministry has held a meeting with the United Nations to help remedy the situation, especially during the rainy season. (TP)

NP asking the government to submit financial report The Member of the National Parliament (NP) from the National Unity Party (PUN), Fernanda Borges, asked the current government to present the general financial report to NP before holding the debate on the issue.

Ms. Borges said that the financial report should be submitted as more time is required before the NP can finally approve it.

“We want to see the data of how the money being executed, including the carry over funds from the previous government. We want to know the situation of the current government in executing the funds,” said Ms. Borges on Monday (19/11). (TVTL, TP and STL)

Dialogue to be a success: government to agree with Alfredo and Salsinha The Chief of the Advocacy Division of Fontil Justino da Silva said that the dialogue between the petitioners and the Government will be successful if the current government defines the place in agreement with Gastão Salsinha, Alfredo Reinado and their groups.

Mr. da Silva said that when the security situation is guaranteed, the dialogue will be held successfully.

Furthermore, Mr. da Silva should maintain his position as recommended by the Notable Commission and Commission of Inquiry. (TP)

Policeman assaults a lawyer in the NP The Member of NP from PUN, Fernanda Borges, said that a member of the PNTL, Sub-Inspector Mario X. de Carvalho, assaulted a private lawyer on Saturday (17/11) in the NP.

"The policeman named Mario beat the lawyer who was invited by the NP to give his testimony about private lawyers' law," said Ms. Borges in the NP.

At the same time, the State Secretary of Security Francisco Guterres said that there will be investigation into the matter. (TP)

Youth seized UNPol pistol On Monday (19/11), a young man named Jaime seized a pistol from a member of United Nations Police (UNPol) as the officer drew his pistol and pointed it at crowd of young men in order to disperse them.

The crowds turned hostile and threw rocks at the UNPol officer. He then fired warning shots in the air.

During the scuffle, some shots were fired and injured two of Jaime's fingers. Jaime then snatched the pistol away from the UNPol officer. The group then said they were going to the Parliament House and left. (TP)

Julio Thomas Pinto: dialogue that could decide the status of the petitioners State Secretary for Defence Julio Tomas Pinto said that whether the petitioners will be restored as F-FDTL or not depends on the dialogue between them and the government.

"The problem of Alfredo and the petitioners depends upon the dialogue. This problem is now under the State Secretary of Security as the spokesperson from the government side," said Mr. Pinto. (DN)

Francisco Guterres: the PNTL does not have the capacity to be deployed on the border line The State Secretary of Security, Francisco Guterres, said that there are not enough PNTL members to be deployed at the border, Indonesia and Australia. Mr. Guterres said that members of the PNTL have been taking part in the screening process and mentoring process of six months to enable them to provide security to the community professionally. (DN)

International Media Reports

The "arc of responsibility"

Neos Kosmos

If the ALP wins government, you will replace one of Australia's longest serving foreign affairs ministers, who in last eleven years dealt with some of the most challenging world events - the independence of East Timor, democratization of Indonesia, breakdown of civic society in many neighboring Pacific islands, an assertive Russia and the continuing boom of China; of course, 9/11 terror attack and the resulting War on Terror - how confident do you feel in meeting challenges as these - especially as many of them remain unresolved?

There is no doubt we live in an unpredictable world and an insecure neighborhood. To our immediate north and east is an arc of instability comprising of fragile states like East Timor, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Fiji. I firmly believe this region is actually our arc of responsibility - this is where the world looks to us to take the lead and it's where our immediate security priorities lie. It's clearly time for a sophisticated revision of strategy for how we address these medium to long term regional security challenges. Recent experience has demonstrated that as impressive as our servicemen and women are, they're the first to admit there is only so much they can do. A revolving door of military deployments has not produced long term desired outcomes nor will it. But in Government Labor will put new leadership and fresh thinking into regional policy. We will take a broader, more proactive approach to enhancing the economic and security prospects in these fragile states. The sustainable restoration of law and order is crucial, as are better education and employment opportunities. Labor is committed to better coordinating the intelligent and committed professionals across government and non-government sectors that can really make a long term difference to regional security and stability. This is a key reason why Labor has put forward our proposal to establish the Asia Pacific Centre for Civil Military Cooperation. We will establish this Centre to ensure that both our country and our broader region have a Centre of Excellence to develop the skills and cooperative relationships required to address fragile states in the long term.

Could the ALP have done better when it was in government by not ignoring Indonesia's repression of the East Timor independence movement?

The strategic history of Australia and Indonesia is very complex. It has been and continues to be in Australia's interests to have a strong and unified Indonesia. The dynamics of what occurred decades ago is now largely a matter for historic debate. In more recent times it was former Labor Shadow Minister Laurie Brereton who raised the pressing need for Australia to intervene on behalf of the people of East Timor.

Labor fully supported the Howard Government's efforts in helping bring about an independent Timor Leste and in Government we will continue to support our friends in Timor Leste build a safe and prosperous future.

If the US becomes increasingly anti-Chinese, anti-Russian and continues to consider military solutions to Iran's nuclear policy, what will the ALP's response be to the US, our key ally?

We note that the US administration has repeatedly emphasized their intention to address the Iran challenge through robust and committed diplomacy. Great Britain has announced a similar intention. We share this view and support tough economic sanctions against Iran, its leadership and certain identified organisations. Iran must recognize that their nuclear program is a source of serious regional and global instability.

In respect to the relations between China Russia and the USA one of the greatest strengths of a middle power like Australia is that you can be an honest broker in major international negotiations. By successfully performing that role we can contribute to constructive outcomes.

Will you be advocating for an increased role for the Australian Defense Force involvement in Afghanistan and a pull out from Iraq? Labor's policy is to withdraw our combat troops from Iraq after close consultation with our allies. Given the rhythms of troop rotations this will occur in about mid-2008. To help the country rebuild we will provide ongoing economic and humanitarian assistance to Iraq. Redeploying our troops from Iraq would give us the capacity to give greater support to our troops in Afghanistan if advice is that additional support is required.

In the Israeli and Palestinian conflict will how will an ALP government engage in pursuing peace?

Labor supports a two-state solution and stands ready to assist with efforts towards its achievement. Facilitating an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians is the priority for the international community, including Australia. Recent developments towards the upcoming conference in the United States have demonstrated that this is an important time to lend diplomatic weight to the process. Australia enjoys good relations with many Middle Eastern countries through our economic and cultural links. Labor believes that Australia could use these links to encourage broader support for the peace process that is currently underway. We will fully examine the most practical ways of doing this should we be elected to Government.

How successful do you think we have been in pursuing the "War on Terror"? Will anything change, if the ALP wins the elections?

The fight against terrorism is one that is redefining traditional notions of warfare. The major threat to our safety is no longer from nation states but from non-state actors pursuing violence for political religious or sectarian reasons.

The threat of terrorism will only be removed through the judicious use of hard and soft power. This means an effective security response but it also means capacity building to remove the under lying disillusionment that terrorists feed on.

The PM on wining office in 1996 said Australia does not have to choose between geography and its history - a criticism of Paul Keating's Asian focus. One Nation's Pauline Hanson secured mass negative coverage in South East Asia, the ALP seemed unwilling to attack her views in the fear of losing the so called "battlers' vote" why is that?

Pauline Hanson lasted only one term in Parliament and Labor was glad to see her go. I don't think many people take her very seriously anymore and frankly I think the less said about her the better.

DFAT offices, i.e. Australian High Commissions, in parts of Asia, and the EU seem to have limited capacity to promote Australian culture, business and social relations - particularly in comparison to say the US, British and other nations. Will an ALP enhance their capacity, or maintain the current levels of support?

Answer: I've seen many Australian diplomats at work first hand and they are a very professional outfit. There is no doubt cultural, business and social exchange is a crucial component of modern diplomacy. I am of the view Australia can do more, especially in our region, through promotion of sporting links. It's particularly effective in building community-to-community links and people to people connections. Sport is also a way younger Australians can play an important role in promoting Australia and encouraging better relations with our neighbors. The Senate has recently completed an inquiry into Public Diplomacy - the sort of diplomacy that occurs at non-government levels. I'm looking forward to having a proper look at what the Senate report says when the election is over.

Australia's economic links with China and Asia are deepening. Will the ALP do anything differently in regards to Asia particularly in the cultural and social sphere?

I'm from Sydney and revealing my bias I'd really like to see us promote rugby league more with our Chinese friends. But obviously there's a whole range of cultural and social initiatives that could be employed to help deepen these relationships. I have to say the Greeks have been just outstanding in promoting cultural links right around the world. Literally thousands of years of practice I suppose.

Rudd speaks Mandarin a bonus with Chinese leaders and officials it seems. DFAT though, unlike the Americans who use Spanish speaking Americans to deal with Latin America, or Chinese Americans to deal with China etc... seem less enthusiastic in actively recruiting from our cultural and linguistic base to enhance our international relations. Will you do anything to change that if the ALP wins government?

Australia is at present experiencing what experts have described as nothing short of a 'language crisis'. A report this year by Australia's Group of Eight Universities said that "Urgent action is required if Australia is to avoid the serious educational, national security and economic consequences of becoming monolingual."

At present only about 13 percent of Year 12 students undertake of a foreign language. In total, only half our school-aged population has received any form of foreign language education. By way of contrast, in Finland it is compulsory for school children to study three languages, while in the Netherlands, 99 per cent of Year 12 students are learning a second language. Professor Tim Lindsey - director of the Asian Law Centre at Melbourne University - has noted that Australian school students rank second last out of OECD countries in terms of time spent learning a second language. And worse still our position is declining.

So, currently we have a situation where the global economy is extending into a wide range of new, diverse and growing international markets - many of which lie in our own immediate region of East Asia. Yet this unprecedented level of international interaction is being met by an Australian language skills capacity and diversity which has been dramatically declining.

If we are going to enable our businesses to take on the best and the brightest in the region and the world we have to make sure that they have all the skills necessary to do so. This is an area that a Rudd Labor Government will work to address.

There has been serious economic growth in Greece, will you advocate for more connections between Greece given Greek Australians are increasing economic, social and cultural links between Greece and Australia?

Labor will be enthusiastic in building connections between Australia and Greece. Our proud heritage of Greek Australians gives us an enormous head start.

In fact our existing links are really quite special and unique. This was evident recently with the way so many Australians were genuinely touched by the tragic bushfires in Greece. There is a real understanding and bond between our two nations.

This close relationship is an excellent foundation for future development. It's always worth exploring ideas to make good relationships better. The day the Socceroos meet the Greek national team in the World Cup final will be a special day. Australian governments have supported the UN position on the resolution of the Cyprus issue. There are efforts from the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to seek a resolution. Will the ALP differ from the current government's position and efforts?

This has been a bipartisan position in Australia. In Government Labor will continue to support international efforts to unify and demilitarize Cyprus in accordance with UN resolutions.

We will continue to deploy Australian Federal Police officers to help maintain security and stability in Cyprus as parties work towards a lasting settlement.

The Government and the Opposition support the UN and EU process of negotiations and will not accept FYROM demands to be known as "The Republic of Macedonia". If FYROM does not accept any compromise, and the current talks between Greece and FYROM fail, will an ALP government consider a unilateral position of recognizing FYROM demands as did the USA and Canada?

No. Both Liberal and Labor are as one on this issue.

On reading the DFAT advisory on Greece one may get the impression that Greece is rife with civil unrest and terrorist attacks. Yet the last incident was a very minor attack on the US Embassy at a time when no one was occupying the embassy. The US Ambassador in Athens at the time and the US State Department spokesperson said it was merely an act of protest by a home grown anti-US group, not Islamic terrorists. Will you reassess the DFAT advisory?

DFAT advisories are determined by Australia's intelligence and security agencies. It certainly wouldn't be appropriate for a Minister to determine what the advice should be.

A case has been presented that perhaps a subject country should be given the opportunity to respond to an advisory. This is something to have a closer look at.

Given Australia's success with culturally diversity do you feel the government and its instrumentalities have done enough to advocate for our model of diversity internationally?

Multiculturalism has undoubtedly enriched our country in immeasurable ways. It's appropriate that other countries determine for themselves the best way to promote harmony and prosperity within their own broader community. But there is no doubt Australia is generally a very tolerant society and I think it's a social strength we can export and promote in constructive ways.

Are there any real differences between the Coalition and the ALP in foreign policy?

It's fair to say that foreign policy is an area of government that tends to receive more bipartisanship than others. There is certainly not as much controversy about foreign policy at this election as domestic issues like industrial relations or health. But there are some very stark differences. Most obviously the Coalition wants to continue with an open ended and unconditional military commitment in Iraq. We think this is the wrong approach - we need to apply real pressure on the Iraqi Government to put their house in order and make necessary political compromise to resolve the factors driving much of the sectarian violence.

That is why Labor's policy is to withdraw our combat troops in consultation with our allies. Iraq really requires a political solution not a military one.

Climate change is also a key difference between the two parties - the Coalition stubbornly refuses to ratify the Kyoto Protocol whereas a Labor Government will ratify it immediately in order to rebuild international credibility for future negotiations. The failure to ratify Kyoto is a real diplomatic problem as it prevents Australia having full voting rights at the next UN meeting in Bali later this year.

And then there is the key point of difference I discussed earlier about how we need to re-examine our approach to regional security and cooperation. From the Coalition you'll get more of the same here but from Labor there will be genuine fresh thinking on how to handle these challenges in our region.

NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES: Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional (DN) Semanario Televisaun Timor-Leste (TVTL)

UNMIT MEDIA MONITORING

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