Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review - 14 May 2008


(International news reports and extracts from national media. UNMIT does not vouch for the accuracy of these reports)

Press Club, RTTL sign agreement – Televisaun Timor-Leste

Radio-Televisaun Timor-Leste (RRTL) and the Timor-Leste Press Club have signed a "Meet the Press" agreement on Tuesday (13/5) to disseminate information through Televisaun Timor-Leste (TVTL).

The accord was signed in the offices of TVTL in Caicoli, Dili by the Director of RTTL Antonio Dias and the President of the Press Club Domingos Saldanha.

Mr. Saldanha said that the accord was a real step to facilitate RTTL as a public medium to disseminate information about the "Meet the Press" programs through TVTL's studios.

"The Press Club wants to sign an accord with RTTL because RTTL is a public broadcaster whose branches could reach the people in the country, as well to foreign countries. That is why Press Club chose RTTL to transmit the Club's programs," said Mr. Saldanha.

The Director of RTTL said that the agreement is also a positive step to disseminate information to the public.

"In this cooperation we hope that this is the first step between the Timor-Leste Press Club and TVTL to show the public that there is space to disseminate information to them," said Mr. Dias.

The accord also states that the Timor-Leste Press Club will pay TVTL US$1,000 per year to disseminate their programs.

President: State to review work of the Joint Operation Command – Suara Timor Lorosa'e

President José Ramos-Horta said that the State is going to review the work of the Joint Operation Command in order to determine whether its mandate should be continued or not.

"We have discussed many things related to the current situation which concern the State's efforts to strengthen national stability. We also discussed the review of the mandate of the Joint Operation Command to determine whether it should be continued or not," said the President José Ramos-Horta to journalists after a meeting on Tuesday (13/5) at the President's office in Farol, Dili.

During the meeting, participants addressed the importance of both the F-FDTL and PNTL working together to strengthen the confidence that they have gained from the people since the crises broke out in 2006.

Meanwhile President José Ramos-Horta asked the petitioners to accept the proposed offer from the Government. If they want to rejoin military, they should follow the recruitment process. Those who want to return to civilian life should prepare themselves to receive a grant from the government to restart their lives.

"I believe that the recruitment process will be fair. The trained commanders will know and understand what to do," said Horta.

MP: future election not decided by one party – Suara Timor Lorosa'e

PUN MP Fernanda Borges said that the future election is not decided by one party and is not something that only belongs to only one group. There was no need to discuss interests that belong to one party during this stage because everything has to be decided based on legal procedures.

"We need to know that there is a constitution, that the existing government has the confidence of the members of the National Parliament," said MP Fernanda Borges on Tuesday (13/5) at National parliament.

PUN MP Fernanda Borges added that the AMP alliance members are only keen to listen to various rumours. She said that if this alliance was not going stand together confidently in the Parliament, then this government could fall.

Separately, KOTA MP Olinda Guterres said there is no need to obsess about the future election, as it was better for everyone to tackle current problems facing the nation.

"I would like to say that our people have suffered too much. There is no need to create more politics in order to politicize people and bring suffering to the people," said Olinda Guterres.

AMP's meeting: UNDERTIM to join - Diario Nacional and Timor Post

The Alliance of Majority in Parliament (AMP) held a meeting on Tuesday (13/5) in the residence of President of the National Parliament which was attended by CNRT President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, PSD President Mario Viegas Carrascalão, ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral, PD President Fernando Lasama, and President UNDERTIM Cornelio Gama. The meeting was aimed at welcoming UNDERTIM in order to strengthen the position of the alliance to withstand any efforts to weaken it

CNRT President Gusmão explained that the meeting was held to discuss UNDERTIM joining the AMP. "We welcome it to strengthen the AMP," explained Mr. Gusmão.

Separately, ASDT President Mr. Xavier said that his party is still in the AMP. The coalition of ASDT-Fretilin is not going to break the AMP down.

In addition, UNDERTIM President Mr. Gama said that his party is going to join AMP because they have the same programs to be implemented.

"We join AMP with the conscience that the AMP's programs now being implemented are part of UNDERTIM's programs, such as, giving attention to the veterans and vulnerable people. Another reason to join AMP is that some people trying to break the AMP, and we are joining to strengthen it," said Mr. Gama.

PR Ramos-Horta: the petitioners not to be mixed in the new recruitment – Diario Nacional

President José Ramos-Horta said he is asking to not mix the new F-FDTL candidates with the petitioners in the recruitment process.

PR Horta said the decision made by the State is still the same: those who want to return to the military are welcomed through recruitment process and those who want to leave will be directly supported by the Government to make better their lives.

"If some petitioners might be disappointed then it should be explained that for those who were previously sergeants or officers, they will be allowed to take their posts. But they will have to undergo new training as have been away from the barracks for two years.

I think that the recruitment will take some time. It may be started with the [groups] of the petitioners, then the new candidates" said PR Horta on Tuesday (13/5) in Farol Dili.

Ed: What if I do not pass the recruitment …? – Diario Nacional

On Monday (12/5), the Government of the Alliance of Majority in Parliament (AMP) officially announced the results of the questionnaires submitted by the petitioners as one of the ways to solve their problems.

The results show that 339 petitioners want to return to the military and follow the recruitment process, and the other 356 prefer to be civilians.

The decision they made does not have significantly different implications. Those who return to F-FDTL will have their monthly salary as military personnel. The others will have equivalent of three years of salary as F-FDTL members.

The salary range will be US$3,600 to $7,260. PM Gusmão said that this is not small change.

Where does the money come from - from the State Budget or other sources?

If it comes from 2008 State Budget, was this planned for or not?

The public should know that the money is spent in order to guarantee transparency and accountability.

What to do if the petitioners are not recruited in the recruitment process? Do they still having the right to get three years salary or not?

The Government should take this into consideration to avoid any unwanted things happening in the future. We wait …

Horta wants UN to stay in E Timor – Angola Press,, 13 May

United Nations should stay in East Timor until at least 2012, President Jose Ramos Horta has said.

He also said that there was still great potential instability and the country needed more time to organize its police and the economy. Mr Ramos Horta was seriously injured in an assassination attempt in February.

An Australian-led peacekeeping force returned to East Timor in 2006 after outbreaks of political violence which paralyzed the country.

Mr Ramos Horta said that peace in his country remained precarious and that he would like a UN presence in East Timor for at least the next five years. He also said it was likely the country would need Australian-led forces to stay on into next year.

Mr Ramos Horta narrowly survived a shooting attack by rebel soldiers in February, and said now was not the time for East Timor to handle its security situation alone.

"I want to play safe. I don't want to, for sake of patriotism, pride, that we should ask sorry, now you can leave.

"We should be very cautious. That's why I have said to UN we need UN police here for at least 5 years - up to 2012."

He said the numbers and the mission could change, but that a UN force of some kind was needed "to give us the time and space to reorganize our defence force, our police force, to improve our economy, to reduce the social tensions arising from poverty and unemployment".

Many people have criticized the UN for pulling out too soon in those early years - but Mr Ramos Horta said East Timor itself must accept some of that blame.

The unwillingness of UN contributors to pay for long peacekeeping missions, said Mr Ramos Horta, is a major problem.

Committing to a country like East Timor for several years - rather than in six or 12-month cycles - he said, would mean big improvements.

UN delays on Timor extension request – The Australiann, 14 May THE UN will wait until February to consider whether it will continue its peacekeeping mission in East Timor, despite President Jose Ramos Horta asking it to commit until at least 2012.

Mr Ramos Horta, still recovering from being shot in February, views his country as volatile despite the apparent calm following the surrender of rebels a fortnight ago.

"I want to play safe," Mr Ramos Horta told the BBC yesterday. "I don't want to, for sake of patriotism, pride, that we should ask, sorry, now you can leave. We should be very cautious. That's why I have said to the UN we need UN police here for at least five years -- up to 2012."

UN spokeswoman Allison Cooper said her organisation had to consider the President's request "in the context of peacekeeping commitments globally". "We currently have a mandate though to February 2009," Ms Cooper said. "We had a 12-month extension in February this year. We will have to report back to the Security Council in February next year and provide a report of progress and they will consider and vote on it. They will decide whether to trim back or reduce the mandate in certain areas, based upon our recommendations."

The UN has a mandated strength of 1748 police officers for East Timor, with 1500 in the country at any time. They come from 41 countries and 50 are Australians. They also have 438 international staff, 933 national staff and 134 volunteers.

"The peacekeepers here are police, with no military component, unlike the UN's military component in Darfur," Ms Cooper said.

"The Security Council will listen to the mission and take into account requests from the President. They will hear what Jose Ramos Horta has said."

Australia has 750 troops in East Timor as part of its International Stabilisation Force, though that was lifted by 200 immediately after Mr Ramos Horta was shot. In late April, those extra troops returned home once the country was deemed secure.

Mr Ramos Horta also told the BBC he wanted the Australians to stay until at least next year, though that is a commitment Kevin Rudd appeared to give on his visit to Dili in the days after the President was shot.

NZ minister to attend trade, defense meetings in Japan – China View, 13 May

>WELLINGTON, May 13 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand Trade and Defense Minister Phil Goff will leave for Japan on Wednesday to meet his counterparts in that country to promote closer economic and security ties.

The three-day visit supports the Japan leg of Prime Minister Helen Clark's trip to Japan and South Korea where the prime minister will be meeting leaders of both countries.

"New Zealand attaches great importance to its relationship with Japan. Our two-way trade is valued at 7.3 billion NZ dollars (5.6 billion U.S. dollars) and Japan is our third largest export market," Goff said.

Japan and New Zealand are working closely on regional trade and economic integration initiatives, he added.

Goff will also attend and speak at the first ever Japan New Zealand Partnership Forum.

The Partnership Forum, on May 14-16, is set to be the largest and most significant gathering of government and business leaders from the two countries ever held, with around 80 senior participants from Japan and New Zealand confirmed to attend.

On security issues, Goff and the Japanese defense chief will discuss international and regional defense and security issues, including developments in the Pacific, Afghanistan and Timor Leste.

New Zealand and Japan have many shared security interests that lend themselves to closer cooperation, including disaster relief and peacekeeping, he added.


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