Subject: Timor-Leste Local Media Monitoring April 27, 2004
Timor-Leste International and Local Media Monitoring April 27, 2004
The wrong choice for Indonesia
It is tempting to shrug off the decision by Golkar, the Indonesian party that did the best in this month s general election, to choose General Wiranto as its candidate for the presidential poll in July. Indonesia, the world s most populous Muslim nation, certainly needs a strong hand at the tiller after drifting under Megawati Sukarnoputri, the current president. General Wiranto, a former defence minister and a moderate in both politics and religion, seems to fit the job description perfectly. He might even be good at fighting terrorism. However, there are good reasons why Golkar should never have picked him and why Indonesian voters should not choose him now. One can leave aside the argument that General Wiranto, like Golkar, represents a return to the past, although he was a pillar of the discredited Suharto regime in the 1990s. It is possible to forget his populist economic policies. One can even ignore his reluctance to step down on the orders of a democratically elected president in 2000. Of far greater significance is that General Wiranto has been indicted by United Nations prosecutors in East Timor for crimes against humanity. He is accused of command responsibility for killings by troops and pro-Jakarta militias in 1999, when inhabitants voted in a referendum for independence. The evidence cannot be lightly dismissed. Documents suggest that under General Wiranto the Indonesian military armed, trained and controlled the militiamen. General Wiranto denies wrongdoing, but he has a case to answer. The fact that the Indonesian government finds it politically inexpedient to arrest him, or the others indicted, does not make him innocent. Nor does the fact that he did not personally take part in the killings. (Australian Media)
Time to repay East Timor
The Australian Government is continuing the disgraceful 30-year bipartisan foreign policy of utter disregard for the people of East Timor. The second round of negotiations with the East Timorese government to settle the maritime boundary between the two countries began on April 19. No negotiation should be necessary, however international maritime law is perfectly clear: the boundary lies on the median line. The Coalition Government is determined to steal as much as it can get its grubby hands on from within East Timor's desperate needs for funds to rebuild the country and establish a future for its people that is free from poverty, disease, illiteracy and unemployment The Australian government has its greedy eyes fixed firmly on the $30 billion in potential revenue from oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea. This policy of blatant theft is exactly the attitude maintained by the Australian government today. As the Timorese people pointed out, Australia s actions amount to a second invasion of their country. There is growing international pressure against the federal government's bullying of and blatant theft from its close neighbour. In March, 53 members of the US Congress sent a letter to the Australian government urging a fair resolution of the boundary dispute. Peter Galbraith, minister for the Timor Sea in the UN Transitional Administration for East Timor, has also insisted that Australia must accept the median line as the boundary. The Australian government should pay every cent it owes to the people of East Timor. This includes not only revenue generated through theft of East Timor's oil and gas in the Timor Sea, but also reparations for the total destruction of East Timor under the Australian-backed Indonesian occupation. Such massive allocation of funds would not be aid but the repayment of debt. There will be no justice for the Timorese people until the Australian government takes responsibility and provides compensation for its massive theft, lies and complicity in genocide. (Australia Media)
Opposition against Xanana
The opposition party at the National Parliament Social Democratic Party (PSD) and Timorese Association of Social Democrats (ASDT) opposed the President, Xanana Gusmão's, statement in Portugal that he wants to talk with the international terrorist network Al-Qaeda. A member of the ASDT at the National Parliament, Feliciano de Fatima, said that many people have died because of their terrorist acts and to talk one needs to have a strategy in place. A Member from the PSD at the National Parliament, João Gonçalves, said that it s a very controversial issue when one looks at the Al-Qaeda terrorist acts around the world and many innocent people have died. He said that he does not agree, because this gives them recognition in their acts of terrorism.
Still waiting for justice
Human rights and solidarity organisations are deeply concerned by the Golkar party's nomination of General Wiranto for President of Indonesia. It is difficult to imagine a more ruthless protégé of the former dictator Suharto than General Wiranto , Max Lane, chairperson of Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific told Green Left Weekly. He and other Indonesian generals and colonels have been able to get off scot-free for the crimes against humanity that they committed in East Timor&crimes they are repeating in the towns and villages of Aceh, Papua and elsewhere , Lane said. In pursuit of improved ties with the Indonesian military, the US and Australian governments have refused to question or criticise the nomination of Wiranto. We can work with anybody that comes out from a free election process , US ambassador Ralph Boyce told reporters on April 21. Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, argued that raising concerns about Wiranto s nomination would harm relations between Canberra and Jakarta. According to the April 22 Melbourne Age, Downer said: If we started attacking General Wiranto, that might turn out to be a bit of an election winner for him, so we won t comment. Downer has also signalled that Wiranto and the Indonesian military have the Howard government s blessing by stating that Wiranto's nomination reflects a view in some parts of Indonesia that they need to get back to strength and decisiveness in government and they would see General Wiranto as a former head of the Indonesian military as that type of person. (Green Left Weekly)
President admits dialogue with Al-Qaeda
The President of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Xanana Gusmão, said that he sees talks with Al-Qaeda as a way to combat terrorism. The President said that at times, talk are denied but a point is reached where "it is necessary". The President pointed to a talks proposed by the Timorese in 1983, which were rejected by the Indonesian government but forced to accept it later in1999.
Jose Filipe External Affairs World Bank, Dili Office Ph: 723 0554 Tel: 332 4649
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