Subject: Daily Media Review 7 August 2003


Dili, August 07 2003

Daily Media Review

Xanana Gusmão: Nationality Status Is Not a Priority

President Xanana Gusmão on Wednesday reiterated that the issue of nationality raised in the National Parliament recently is not a priority for the population. Gusmão said the provision of a better life, access to food, shelter, healthcare and education, is the main priority. Speaking to the media at the book launch by UNIFEM entitled 'Women War and Peace,' Gusmão appealed to the political leaders to use democracy to address the needs of the people, and for MPs to prioritize issues to be discussed in Parliament. He added that there are many problems faced by the people of this country that need to be addressed. (TP)

Opposition Accuses Fretilin of Creating Terror

The opposition parties under the umbrella Platform of National Unity held a press conference yesterday [Wednesday] in response to comments made by Fretilin's President, Francisco Guterres, that certain individuals and groups are trying at all costs to bring down the government and would even use anti-democratic ways to do so. Fernando 'Lasama' de Araújo, President of the Platform of National Unity, said such accusations are false and the opposition parties have no intention of staging a coup-d'etat against the government. Araújo added that the comments by Fretilin's President would create terror among the people, and would intimidate them, so that they would be discouraged from speaking out against the government. Interviewed on local television, TVTL, President Gusmão assured that a coup-d'etat could only be staged by the military and as the commander of the Timorese Armed Forces, he said that "as the supreme commander, not 'a' commander. Before I was only a commander but now I'm the supreme commander, and I will not allow such thing to happen. There will not be any coup-d'etat". (TP, TVTL)

President Gusmão condemns Jakarta terror bombing

Timor Leste's president, Xanana Gusmão, wrote to his Indonesian counterpart on Wednesday, expressing his "vehement condemnation" of the terrorist bombing in Jakarta on Tuesday that killed at least 14 people, injuring about 150. In his message to President Megawati Sukarnoputri, Gusmão described the hotel bombing as "an attack against peace in Indonesia, the region and the world". He underlined Timor-Leste's commitment to work with Jakarta to prevent such "cowardly actions" in future. Meanwhile in Lisbon, Portuguese Foreign Minister António Martins da Cruz also sent his Indonesian counterpart a message of "sympathy" and "condolences", reaffirming the need for "close international collaboration" in fighting international terror. The Jakarta bombing has been claimed by a radical Indonesian Islamic organization, Jemaah Islamiya. (Lusa) EU, rights groups denounce Jakarta's flimsy human rights trials The European Union, echoing denunciations from rights groups worldwide, Wednesday expressed its "disappointment" with Indonesia's trials of officers and officials charged with committing crimes against humanity in formerly occupied Timor-Leste. In a statement issued in Brussels, the EU underlined that Indonesia's special court, which wound up more than a year of trials on Tuesday, had not been presented with "all the evidence" and had only passed a few light sentences in "a process that had not permitted that justice be done". The EU's condemnation followed Jakarta's last of 18 trials, which saw the court sentence Major General Adam Damiri, the senior defendant in the process, to three years for not having stopped Indonesian army and militia atrocities in Timor-Leste in 1999. On Tuesday, immediately after Gen. Damiri's sentencing, prestigious international organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and East Timor Action Network, denounced the Jakarta trials as "shameful" and a "farce". Some of the groups, including East Timor's Justice System Monitoring Program, demanded the United Nations now act to bring to justice those responsible for the anti-independence slaughter and rampages. Indonesian human rights groups also expressed disappointment at the trials, which acquitted 12 of the 18 defendants, giving minimal sentences to only six of them. But they underlined the historic character of Gen. Damiri's sentence in a nation with only fledgling democratic institutions. The Indonesian Foundation for Legal Aid described the general's condemnation as "rare", a "definitive landmark in the defense of human rights" in Indonesia. - END -

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