Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 28 February 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 Monday, 28 February 2005

Alkatiri protests against Australia's attitude

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri has criticized Australia's attitude leading up to the next round of maritime boundary negotiations to be held in the first week of March. Alkatiri disagrees with Australia's method of using the media to promote its position, which he says is a way of pressuring Timor-Leste. The Australian media recently publicized the Australian government's position, saying that Canberra is prepared to reward more royalties to Timor-Leste, but only if Timor-Leste agrees that there be no negotiations on the maritime border for 100 years. Alkatiri said that as far as he is concerned, negotiations are not to be conducted via the media, but via proper discussions. (Timor Post)

US Ambassador supports Commission of Experts

The United States' Ambassador to Timor-Leste, Joseph Grover Rees, said that the Commission of Experts' visit to Timor-Leste in the near future will prove to be very important because it will assist the Serious Crimes Unit in assessing accountability for 1999 crimes. However, he said before the Commission arrives in Timor-Leste, its members must have an understanding about what happened here in 1999. Speaking at a seminar on Civil and Political Rights last Thursday, Ambassador Rees said that after studying the justice situation in Timor-Leste, the Commission will present recommendations to the United Nations and the governments of Indonesia and Timor-Leste. (Timor Post)

Political parties support church in curriculum battle

The Social Democrat Party (PSD) and the Social Democratic Association of Timor (ASDT) have thrown their support behind the Catholic Church concerning recent debate on the inclusion of religion into the national primary school curriculum. The Church, PSD and ASDT all disagree with the government policy to include religious teachings in the curriculum as an optional subject. Lucia Lobato, Secretary General of PSD, told STL that the PSD National Council has requested the government to include religion in the national curriculum as a mandatory subject, to reflect the reality that there is a majority Catholic population in Timor-Leste. Last week, Timor-Leste's Catholic Church sent a pastoral note to the government protesting the majority-Fretilin government's decision to limit religious teachings in government primary schools to elective subjects only. (STL, Timor Post)

US to resume Indonesian military training

The United States has decided to resume a training program for members of the Indonesian armed forces suspended since 1992, the US State Department announced. "Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice has determined that Indonesia has satisfied legislative conditions for restarting its full Military Education and Training program," department spokesman Richard Boucher said in a statement.

Indonesia's participation in the program has been essentially on hold since 1992 when the Indonesian military launched a crackdown against pro-independence protestors in Dili, Timor-Leste. The sanctions were further tightened in 1999 after the Indonesian military was accused of killing some 1500 people in Timor-Leste. (AFP)

IRI meets with President Xanana

The Vice-President of the International Republican Institute (IRI), George A. Fauriol, met with President Xanana Gusmao for the first time on Friday since the IRI established an office in Timor-Leste three years ago. Fauriol said that the IRI is engaged in a range of programs in Timor-Leste, including the promotion of democracy, justice and security, as well as community understanding of the political party system. (Timor Post)

CPD-RDTL supports continuation of UN mission

The General Coordinator of CPD-RDTL, Antonio Aitahan Matak, said his organization supports the continuation of a UN mission in Timor-Leste as long as it functions as an Ambassador and does not assume a similar role to that of the third transition period. Aitahan Matak told Timor Post that he does not support a UN mission that continues to take responsibility for some economic and administrative matters. (Timor Post)

PNTL Commander granted conditional release

Five suspects, including the Commander of PNTL Lautem, who were allegedly involved in the murder of a colleague, were granted conditional release from jail on Friday. STL reports that two of the suspects, including the Commander, have been placed under house arrest, while the other three were granted conditional release but prohibited from contacting relatives of the victim while investigations are continuing. The closed hearing was presided over by an international judge. (STL)

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