Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 13 April 2005

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Wednesday, 13 April 2005

Government angered by Catholic Church comments

The increasingly bitter dispute between the government of Timor-Leste and the country’s Catholic Church on whether religious teaching should be compulsory in public schools continues to intensify.

Following yesterday’s public statement by the Catholic Church in Timor-Leste, whereby the two bishops accused the government of offending the church, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has today responded, accusing the Catholic Church of transforming itself into a political party.

Local newspaper reports state that the Government is willing to engage in a dialogue on the above matter rather than transforming this debate into a religious war. The communiqué by the Government, published by STL and Timor Post, also accused the hierarchy of the Church of having little interest in finding a solution.

Meanwhile, the Dean of the Faculty of Politics at the National University in Dili, Valentim Ximenes, called on both sides to sit down together and discuss this issue properly in order to avoid confusion. (Timor Post, STL)

President Gusmão urges political parties not to instigate fights amongst population

President Xanana Gusmão has urged all political parties to educate, love and teach the population but not to instigate fights among the community through the use of false information and propaganda. He added that political parties should respect and embrace one another in a democracy such as Timor-Leste. President Gusmão made the statement during a visit to Ermera district, where he also called on the local population to prepare themselves for the upcoming election of Chefé de Suco and Conselho de Suco. (Timor Post, TVTL)

MP Amaral on Fatuk Sinai island

MP Clementino dos Reis Amaral from KOTA has called on the governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia to involve the local community in solving the border demarcation of Fatuk Sinai (or Batek Island). Amaral, a former administrator in an area on the disputed border, said based on his experiences many problems could be solved through local communities.

Meanwhile, MP João Gonsalves of PSD has questioned the Minister of Foreign Affairs on whether the signing of the provisional border agreement with Jakarta on 8 April would mean the handover of Fatuk Sinai island to the Indonesian government. (Timor Post, STL)

TL and Indonesia to open border

The Minister of Interior, Rogério Lobato said the governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia would soon open the border to a certain extent to facilitate the needs of the population residing there. He said that opening the border would benefit the local population economically. Minister Lobato clarified that he has spoken to his Indonesian counterpart about allowing the local population, who are residing on the border and who do not hold a passport, to move freely in the area but not to cross the Indonesian border by more than 10 kilometres. Minister Lobato added that apart from economic benefits, the border pass given to locals would also be an opportunity for families living on either side to meet. (STL)

Mayor Ular Rihik: 258 F-FDTL New Cadets to Graduate

Mayor Ular Rihik announced that 258 F-FDTL cadets, who completed a basic training course at Nicolau Lobato Training Centre in Metinaro, will graduate on 15 April 2005. (Timor Post)

Dengue fever experts to help Timor-Leste

Two Northern Territory-based dengue fever mosquito experts will fly to Timor-Leste today to help stop a recent outbreak. Twenty-four East Timorese have died from the disease and more than 400 have been hospitalised this year.

The Health Department’s senior entomologist Peter Whelan said the two-day trip will be used to get basic information about how the Timorese authorities tackle this virus. (ABC)

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