Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review - 26 May 2008

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


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

UNDERTIM: only force could lead to an early election – Timor Post

UNDERTIM Vice President Faustino de Jesus-Renan Selak said that only force could lead to early elections but this would be suicide.

Renan Selak said that the early election might take place if the Government failed twice in passing its programs in the National Parliament.

"If the opposition has the power to lobby other parties to vote against Government's programs [in the National Parliament], the early elections will be realized," said Mr. Selak in the National Parliament.

He said that his party is joining with AMP to block Fretilin's attempt to force early elections and save AMP and its programs.

The petitioners' position: AMP-Fretilin recommend civilian life – Timor Post and Diario Nacional

The AMP and Fretilin bench in the National Parliament recommend that the petitioners return to civilian life as they had left the military when they deserted F-FDTL.

PSD Member of Parliament Riak Leman said that the petitioners do not deserve to return to the F-FDTL. He said that the petitioners were involved in two situations: First, from the military's point of view they are deserters as they by abandoned their barracks. Second, the petitioners' case, which was pending for some time, was destroyed when Salsinha and Alfredo attacked PR Ramos-Horta and PM Xanana on 11 February.

"They should have resolved their problem by the time the abandoned the HQ. Why didn't they want to resolve their problem, instead abandoning their HQ? So, some of their friends who did not follow them will not be happy to see them again. Therefore I have reminded the petitioners' leader former Major Tara to think ten times if they want to return to military," he said.

PSD President Mario Viegas Carrascalão said that the credibility of F-FDTL will be damaged if it decides to accept the petitioners' return.

The Fretilin chief of bench in the National Parliament, Aniceto Guterres said that previously his party suggested that, based upon their decision to leave F-FDTL and the ensuing 2006 crisis, the petitioners should return to civilian life.

Rogerio's pardon: Horta starts a bad precedent – Timor Post

Even though the reduction by three months of the former Minister of Interior's sentence has implemented, criticism of PR Ramos-Horta continues.

According to AMP leaders, PR Ramos-Horta has constitutional authority to grant a pardon to former Minister of Interior Rogerio Tiago Lobato. But they do not agree with Horta's statement that he pardoned Lobato because he is the only survivor [of the resistance] in Timor-Leste or even in the world.

"It is wrong and would destroy the nation's judicial system if Rogerio becomes a special citizen. Under the law, our constitution guarantees equal rights to all the citizens," said AMP member Hugo da Costa on Friday (23/5) in the National Parliament.

MP Hugo said that PR Ramos-Horta's attitude signals a start to creating impunity for criminals in the country. Those who think of themselves as heroes may freely commit crimes and then be pardoned.

The President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama de Araujo said that PR Horta's decision has generated criticism. Yet, it is fait accompli - everyone has to respect it as the constitution gives the President the authority to take such action.

Ed: Are the petitioners' problems being solved transparently? – Timor Post

Even though moving slowly, but there are positive signs that the Government of the Alliance Majority in Parliament is solving the petitioners' problems.

The Government said that the petitioners who want to be civilians will be compensated and the others will be given an opportunity to return to the military with good conscience.

The result of the recent questionnaire announced in the last few weeks showed that 356 petitioners chose to be civilian and other 339 decided to return to the military.

The Government might be afraid of the number of the petitioners who want to return to the military – because they only filled in answers on questionnaires.

The Government through its Prime Minister and Minister of Defence and Security Xanana Gusmão should try another way to brainwash the 339 petitioners who want to rejoin the military so that they would change the mind and follow the same path as the other 356 petitioners, to be civilians.

The Prime Minister is using this policy to discriminate against the petitioners who want to return to the military by saying that it is better for the petitioners who only finished primary school to return to civilian life. The statement made the 339 reconsider their personal preference. Only 80 petitioners out of 339 still want remain to return to the military.

We should agree with the Government policy, because the recruitment system will different as done previously. Now we need a professional force.

The concern is why questions about the petitioner's level of the education were not included among the items on the questionnaire. Of course, we do not know! We wait …

MP PUN says State institutions should work together – Suara Timor Lorosa'e

MP PUN Fernanda Mesquita Borges said that in order to achieve a good judicial system in the country, State institutions such as Presidency, National Parliament, Government and Tribunal should work together to achieve this. Otherwise everything will be out of sync and reckless if the state organs always criticize each other, politicians fight for position, and influence the nation's judicial system.

Regarding the president's comment on the tribunal system is operating without direction, Fernanda Borges said that the case has to be brought to the Prosecutor-General in order to investigate the failed judicial system in the country.

"We can not put someone in prison without a decision from the tribunal. They have to be investigated to determine how this could happen," said Fernanda Mesquita Borges to the journalist of STL on Friday (23/05) at the National Parliament.

Ed: buying luxurious cars, parliament should give clarification – Suara Timor Lorosa'e

All people recognize that Timor-Leste is the poorest nation in the world. It is true as we only achieved self-determination a few years ago. We are still too young. Every year we face poverty and other problems. If we solve one problem today, tomorrow we will face another.

The prices of goods are getting higher and agriculture products are still limited. Heavy rains come with storms which and destroy the farmer's corn crops.

One problem that the Government is solving is the case of the petitioners. The second one is the veterans. However, progress on these two problems is not solving the problems of the population as a whole.

It is confusing. In an environment of so many problems, the President of the National Parliament, Fernando Lasama de Araujo stated that in one year the parliament will buy 65 luxurious cars to facilitate the daily work of all the MPs. "We will buy working cars. With half of the budget we will buy 65 luxurious cars for the MPs," said Fernando Lasama on Friday (23/5) in the National Parliament.

The cars will be [Toyota] Prado. The price will be US$20,000–$30,000: too much money. Big confusion: after MPs end their elected mandate, then the cars will be theirs.

The decision might be considered an injustice as public money will be used for private gain.

The National Parliament has to clarification the situation. The money, which is coming from petroleum fund, belongs to Timorese people, not the leaders.

How lucky are the MPs – coming in as poor people - but after one or two yyears in the NP, owners of luxurious cars. If it is so, then the National Parliament is not representative – butt a place to become rich.

UNMIT to Celebrate 60th Peace Keepers Day in Timor-Leste – Diario Nacional

The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of UN Peacekeeping on May 29.

At a press briefing held at Obrigado Barracks on Friday (23/5), UN Peacekeeper Kathi Austin said that the UN Peacekeepers are working all around the world, including Timor-Leste.

Ms. Austin, Chief of UNMIT's Joint Mission Analysis Center, also told journalists about the Unit's work.

"We work daily along with International Security Forces (ISF) and other UN agencies to bring stability for the Timor-Leste."

East Timor won't be ASEAN 'basket case' – The Manila Times, 26 May

SINGAPORE: East Timor hopes to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by 2012 but not as a "basket case" which might embarrass Myanmar, President Jose Ramos-Horta said.

Addressing the Foreign Correspondents Association here late Saturday, Ramos-Horta said his six-year-old country was improving its economy and other institutions in order to be ready to join the Southeast Asian grouping.

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, joined ASEAN in 1997 but has been a controversial member because of alleged human rights violations, including the continued detention of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, and torture claims.

Myanmar's ruling generals have also come under fire for blocking urgent humanitarian relief to victims of Cyclone Nargis, which devastated the Irrawaddy Delta region.

No ASEAN country is opposing East Timor's membership and its largest member, Indonesia, has assigned a senior diplomat to help the young nation in its membership preparations, Ramos-Horta said.

"I hope that by 2012 we can [join ASEAN],ö he told his audience of journalists and diplomats.

"We set this target as pressure on ourselves to work harder in order to be eligible to join ASEAN, because obviously ASEAN countries, with the embarrassing problems of Burma/Myanmar, they wouldn't want a basket case, an unstable new member," he added.

"So we have to work hard," said the 58-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Ramos-Horta survived an assassination attempt in February, underlining instability in the impoverished country with a violent recent past. East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 as it moved toward formal independence, starting a brutal 24-year occupation.

The country won its freedom in a 1999 UN-backed referendum that was marred by violence as Indonesian-backed militias laid waste to much of the country in a scorched-earth campaign that displaced hundreds of thousands. The country gained formal independence in 2002.

East Timor also faces formidable economic challenges despite massive reserves of oil and gas, analysts said.

The country is the least developed in Southeast Asia, with around 50- percent unemployment and most of the population surviving off subsistence farming.

It remains dependent on foreign assistance, with its oil and gas industry still to be fully developed.

Ramos-Horta, a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for championing East Timor's struggle for independence, meanwhile urged the International Criminal Court to indict Myanmar's military rulers for crimes against humanity.

But he continued to disagree with the United States and other Western nations on the effectiveness of imposing economic sanctions.

"If I were the prosecutor general of the International Criminal Court, I will find substantive evidence to start indicting them for crimes against humanity for what has been happening over the last 20 years in Burma," he said, referring to Myanmar by its former name.

He added, however: "I always oppose sanctions on impoverished countries and the sad thing is that powerful countries mostly impose sanctions on the weaker countries with which they don't agree."

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.


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