Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 11 April 2005

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review

Monday, 11 April 2005

Indonesia refuses entry for UN experts investigating violence in TL

Indonesia is set to deny entry visas for three legal experts tasked by the United Nations to investigate why Jakarta failed to punish any military officers over the violence that accompanied Timor-Leste's independence vote in 1999. According to government spokesman, Marty Natelegawa, allowing the three to visit Indonesia would "not be in order" because Timor-Leste and Indonesia have formed their own commission to investigate the violence and promote reconciliation.

He denied that refusing entry to the three would anger the United Nations. "Indonesia is a respected member of the United Nations. We do not see ourselves as on a collision course with the United Nations," he added. (Associated Press)

Indonesian President stresses reconciliation in Timor-Leste

Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono ended a two-day visit to Timor-Leste on Saturday with emphasis on respect for the newly independent nation. During a press conference, Yudhoyono said that the Indonesian people appreciate nations with their sovereign rights and Jakarta looks forward to building a closer relationship between the two countries. His comments prompted applause during the press conference. The President also said his administration will promote the establishment of better roads between the two countries to improve cooperation and economic and cultural ties.

About 20 Timorese protested his visit, demanding prosecution of those who perpetrated atrocities during the Indonesian occupation and the especially bloody period in 1999, when the UN estimates around 1000 people were killed.

However, in reports carried by local non-governmental organizations and the Green Left Weekly, around 200 East Timorese protestors were stopped from taking part in a demonstration by police, including special branch paramilitary forces. The protestors had gathered at the Santa Cruz cemetery, the site of the 1991 protest where participants were massacred by Indonesian military, to commemorate the massacre and protest the government's invitation to President Yudhoyono.

The police stated that the demonstrators had no permit for a protest, although a law requiring such permits had not yet been passed by parliament. Although the police seized banners and forced protestors to disperse, the activists relocated to the offices of the Socialist Party of Timor (PST). According to the reports, the police and members of the rapid response unit then surrounding the PST office. (Reuters, Green Left Weekly, Lao Hamatuk)

Indonesian President visits site of Timorese massacre

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono laid a wreath at an East Timorese cemetery on Saturday, where Indonesian soldiers massacred pro-independence protestors 14 years ago. Yudhoyono's visit to the Santa Cruz cemetery was another step towards reconciliation between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. The visit was the first by an Indonesian leader to the graveyard, and the most clear symbol yet of the improving ties between the two countries since Timor-Leste broke away from Jakarta's brutal 24-year rule in 1999.

The Indonesian President, who served in Timor-Leste as a military officer, then moved on to a cemetery for Indonesian soldiers who died during Indonesia's occupation.

Speaking after a meeting with East Timorese parliamentarians, the former general described the tiny country as a "true friend" because, despite its own financial difficulties, it has donated $75,000 for victims of the December 26 tsunami that devastated north-west Indonesia. "A friend in need is a friend indeed. I thank all the people of Timor-Leste for their attention during our time of distress," said Yudhoyono. (AAP, AFP, ABC, STL, Timor Post)

TL and Indonesia sign border deal

Timor-Leste and former ruler Indonesia signed a border demarcation agreement on Friday shortly after the arrival of the Indonesian President to Dili. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri witnessed the signing by their foreign ministers.

"This is fruit of hard work. Today is a step forward for both countries and it is because of the determination of the people of the two nations," said Mr Alkatiri. He said the agreement covered 96 per cent of outstanding border issues and that it was a provisional agreement as there is still four per cent of the agreement to be settled, which he believes both countries are willing to solve.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' director for Asia Pacific affairs, Hamzah Thayib, said the remaining unresolved border problems covered three locations between East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) and Timor-Leste, which are delineated by a river. "There is a problem in resolving these borders because the river banks move closer to Indonesia during the dry season, but shift to Timor-Leste during the wet season," he said. Hamzah said this made it difficult for the two countries to accurately measure their territories and install border poles.

After signing the temporary accord, Indonesia will immediately install poles along those border areas already agreed upon by the two nations.

Meanwhile, as a mark of respect to the Timorese people, who are mostly Catholic and were observing the funeral of Pope John Paul II, the Indonesian President decided to cancel a state dinner with East Timorese leaders that was scheduled for Friday evening. (ABC, Reuters, Kyodo, The Jakarta Post, Timor Post, Lusa)

President SBY calls on Indonesians to be ambassadors in TL

Indonesian President's appealed to Indonesians, who are currently living in Timor-Leste, to be Indonesia's ambassadors in Timor-Leste. During a meeting with his own community in Dili, President Yudhoyono mentioned that he raised the issue of assets and refugees in his address to the National Parliament of Timor-Leste and solutions are being sought.(Antara, STL, Timor Post)

Australia hopes Timor Sea reserves will cut oil imports

Australia's Treasurer Peter Costello says the Bayu-Undan project in the Timor Sea off Darwin will play an important role in making up lost production from existing Australian oil fields. Mr Costello told a meeting of the Northern Territory Cattleman's Association in Alice Springs that total production from all Australian oil fields has fallen by about 220,000 barrels per day since 2002. He said that has led to an increasing reliance on imported oil in the midst of oil prices rises.

Mr Costello says when the Exeter/Mutineer, Enfield and Bayu-Undan oil projects come on line in the next few years they will produce a combined 200,000 barrels per day.

In May 2002, Australia and Timor-Leste signed the Timor Sea Treaty, which allows a temporary joint petroleum revenue sharing area in the Timor Sea. Under the treaty, Timor-Leste receives 90 per cent of tax and royalty revenues from oil and gas production in the treaty area, which Australia receives 10 per cent. (ABC)

Minister Wirajuda: Timor Gap No Longer in the Possession of Indonesia

Indonesian Foreign Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, stated that the government of Indonesian no longer has an interest in the Timor Gap. Minister Wirajuda confirmed that since an agreement signed with Australia years ago is being cancelled officially, Indonesia does not have any business on the matter. (Antara)

MP Amaral: Timor-Leste will always turn to Indonesia

Member of Parliament, Clementino dos Reis Amaral, stated that Timor-Leste will always turn to Indonesia because of the reliance on goods from its neighbouring country by the population. He said although Indonesia needs Timor-Leste's political support, namely at the UN, it is Timor-Leste who needs Indonesia's assistance in all development sectors. He added geographically Indonesia is the closest country to Timor-Leste and therefore, Dili would always turn to Jakarta. (Antara)

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