Subject: Timor-Leste Local Media Monitoring April 2, 2004

Timor-Leste International and Local Media Monitoring April 2, 2004


Sunrise oil-gas bill may face Timorese opposition (source: Australia media)

The controversial law paving the way to develop oil and gas fields in the Timor Sea passed the Senate yesterday, pushed through by Federal Government with the help of the ALP. The Greater Sunrise Unitisation Agreement Implementation Bill 2004 and Customs Tariff Amendment (Greater Sunrise) Bill 2004 were passed 49 votes to 11. The laws give effect to an agreement between Australia and East Timor to develop and commercialise oil and gas resources in the Sunrise and Troubadour fields, collectively known as Greater Sunrise. But the agreement may be blocked by the East Timor government, which is disputing its seabed and maritime boundaries with Australia and wants more than its 18 percent share of the revenue.

Farita the Philippine ambassador to Timor-Leste (Manila)

President Gloria Arroyo yesterday administered the oath of office to five ambassadors, several other government officials, and officers of private organizations at the Ceremonial Hall of Malacanang. The new envoy to Timor-Leste is Farita Aguilucho Ong, ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

Indonesia's election could be bad for Australia

Imagine General Wiranto, of East Timor fame, becoming the president of Indonesia, writes Hugh White. Churchill caught the complexity of democracy in his famous line about it being the worst way to choose a government, except for all the other ways. Indonesia will be demonstrating both sides of this aphorism over the next few months. The good news is that Indonesia is about to choose its next government through peaceful elections. The bad news is that the outcome is unlikely to be good, and could be quite bad ? for Indonesia and for ourselves.

Australia's security depends on an Indonesia that is stable, prosperous, cohesive and democratic. It seems our changes of getting all four are slim. A president Wiranto in Jakarta's Istana Merdeka would be a major problem for Indonesia's relationship with the Us Washington can hardly afford to alienate the leader of the world's largest Muslim nation, but ir would come under domestic pressure to keep Wiranto at arms length because of his alleged human rights violations.

For Australia the consequences could be even worse. Sensitivities about East timor and the events of 1999 persist both in Australia and in Indonesia. So Canberra has understandably taken a slow, patient approach to rebuilding closer links with Jakarta. A Wiranto presidency would make that process much harder, and might well throw it into reverse.

25 years jail term for three

Three men aged between 26 and 28 were sentenced by Dili District Court to 25 years imprisonment for the killing of 24-year old Jose Conio Fernandes Xavier, whose body was found at Dili Stadium last week. The daily paper reported that six people also had been detained in connection to Xavier's death.

Semanario and Leandro Issac taken to court by PSD

A lawyer representing the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Vital dos Santos, said that he has filed a lawsuit against Semanario (Portuguese newspaper published once a week) and Leandro Isaac (used to be the Vice-President of PSd and responsible for the infrastructure) because of an interview given by Leandro Issac saying that PSD had received USD$50,000 from Petrotimor during political campaigns. Mr dos Santos said that Leandro Isaac's attitude shows that he (Leandro) wants to damage the credibility of PSD. Mr dos Santos said that PSD wants Semanario and Leandro Isaac to apologise through the local media within seven days, or face the consequences.

Timor Post

Govt says Australia illegally exploiting Greater Sunrise

A statement from the office of the Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, said that Australia was in breach of a 2003 agreement signed with Timor on the carving up of Greater Sunrise gas and oil field. The Dili government said last week that Australia's "unilateral action highlights the need for the establishments of permanent maritime borders in the Timor Sea". A further round of bilateral talks on the disputed boundaries takes place April 19 in Dili. Meanwhile the Ambassador of Australia in Timor-Leste, Paul Foley, met the Prime Minister (yesterday). The meeting lasted 30 minutes, and after, the Australian ambassador said that they had discussed the issues concerning the two countries.

Health Ministry seeking better coordination

The Vice-Minister of Health, Luis Lobato, said that the Health Ministry has set up a working group to better coordinate with all NGO's working in the area of health. He said that the objective is to have better coordination between the Ministry of Health and the NGO's. Mr Lobato said that this is an opportunity for the NGO's to report on their activities around the country, and share ideas and views on how to deliver better health services throughout the country.

VOX Populi (weekly newspaper)

Debate on the whereabouts of USD13, 8 million of Timor Gap revenue The weekly Vox Populi reported that participants on a workshop on the Timor Gap, held last week in Dili, demanded to know the whereabouts of US$13,8 million of Timor Gap revenue. The article said that issue on revenue's intensified as they learned that over US$10 million from the Timor Sea was deposited in the US Central Bank. According to TL's Director for Management and Investment, Cristiano Gusmão, the decision to save the oil and gas revenues was made by UNTAET. Vox Populi also reported that the Secretary of State for Tourism and Natural Resources, Jose Teixeira, said that presently, the revenue from the Timor Sea is US$40 million. Mr teixeira said the US$40 million had been withdrawn from the USA, being deposited in TL's Bank and Payment Authority ? BPA.

I'm not part of the lawyers team, says Longuinhos

The General Prosecutor, Longuinhos Monteiro, said that he's not included in the team of lawyers set up to defend the Prime Minister against the alleged bribery accusation made by Oceanic Exploration and Petrotimor. Mr Longuinhos said that he hasn't seen any documents, and he'll wait until the documents are brought to him to take action. Mr Longuinhos said that as General Prosecutor as it states in the Constitution that he will take action if the defamation is proved. He said that he needs to look at the evidence first to know whether the accusation is made against the nation or against the Prime Minister as an individual.

Jose Filipe External Affairs World Bank, Dili Office Ph: 723 0554 Tel: 332 4649 Email:

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