Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 26 April 2005

[Poster's note: Long repeats of international articles already sent out to the east-timor list have been removed.]

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Tuesday, 26 April 2005

UN Secretary-General calls on donors to help Timorese build a better future

In a message to a meeting on Timor-Leste, the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has urged the international community to "again do its part", calling on donors at a meeting in Timor-Leste to help the tiny Asian nation continue its post-independence march towards sustainable development.

With the current mandate of the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) due to end soon, the Secretary-General said "we find ourselves at a critical juncture". "As Timor-Leste transitions from a peacekeeping into a peace-building phase, I hope you will assist capacity-building efforts with a view to ensuring viable and stable administrative structures."

"I trust your deliberations will contribute further to building better lives for the people of Timor-Leste. The challenges before us are daunting, but with your help, I am confident that they can be overcome," he said.

"I am proud that the United Nations has contributed to creating conditions for peace and stability in Timor-Leste, without which its development efforts could not have proceeded successfully," added the Secretary-General. (UN News)

Timor-Leste church talks collapse

Timor-Leste's powerful Catholic Church said it has slammed the door on possible negotiations with the government after seven days of protests calling for the country's Prime Minister to resign. The Vice Bishop of Dili, Apolinario Guterres, told reporters that discussions had failed to meet the demands of demonstrators who gathered in their thousands outside government buildings. The protests have been held in anger at the Fretilin party-led government's proposal to scrap compulsory religious education in schools, but reflect a growing rift between the church and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri's leadership.

"People do not trust the government. Right now the church is only willing to open a dialogue with the Parliament and Fretilin," said Mr Guterres. A government spokesman said talks with the church had failed because demands for the removal of the Prime Minister ran contrary to the constitution of Timor-Leste.

The head of the government delegation to the meeting, Minister of Health Dr. Rui Araujo, speaking at a press conference after the meeting, said that the issue of religious education was not an important talking point during the meeting, but rather the Church's demand for the creation of a new government as a means of resolving all the problems currently being experienced by Timor-Leste. (The Australian, AFP, STL, Timor Post)

Indonesian government urged to probe shooting of soldier

The West Nusa Tenggara provincial administration called on the central government to hold talks with the Government of Timor-Leste to ensure a thorough investigation into the recent shooting of an Indonesian Military (TNI) soldier on the border between the two countries. "We have asked the central government to handle the shooting incident thoroughly and the (East Timor) policeman, who fired on the soldier must be brought to justice," said West Nusa Tenggara deputy governor Frans Leburaya said.

Meanwhile, the head of the UN mission in Timor-Leste, Sukehiro Hasegawa, has promised that UNMISET would carry out a thorough investigation into the incident and establish procedures for preventing such incidents from occurring in the future. In a press release yesterday, Dr Hasegawa said that UNMISET was deeply concerned over the incident and that was why he visited the scene of the shooting. (The Jakarta Post)

Donor's Conference Focuses on poverty

The President of the National Parliament, Francisco Guterres, told the Donor's Conference yesterday that Timor-Leste cannot hide from the reality that it is a poor country and even though many aspects of the administration of the country are now functioning, Timor-Leste continues to need assistance. Speaking also at the conference, the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Timor-Leste, Dr Sukehiro Hasegawa, also appealed to the international community to continue to contribute to Timor-Leste's development. He said that he is pleased with the contribution that the United Nations has made to Timor-Leste's development through the peacekeeping force and support for the national police among others. Hasegawa also thanked donor nations, as well as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Asian Development Bank and NGO's for their contributions and assistance to Timor-Leste since 1999, pointing out that the United Nations could not have done its work here without the support of these partners.

Meanwhile, the Country Director of the World Bank Zhu Xian has said that Timor-Leste is making good progress in the implementation of the National Development Plan. Speaking at the Donor's Conference, Xian also said that Timor-Leste has made an impressive implementation of the government framework in the petroleum sector. Comparing Timor-Leste to other countries, which have mismanaged their non-renewable resources, Xian said that Timor-Leste has demonstrated its dedication to the creation of an excellent framework for transparent and prudent management of petroleum resources. (Timor Post)

UNICEF Chief visits National Hospital

The Head of UNICEF in Timor-Leste visited the National Hospital yesterday with the objective of analysing immunization and nutrition programs, and consultations for pregnant women. During the visit, hospital staff spoke to the UNICEF chief about the difficulties experienced by the hospital, such as the need for maternity and newborn equipment. UNICEF has reportedly agreed to assist the hospital in these areas. (STL)

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