Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 5 May 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 Thursday, 5 May 2005


PM Alkatiri hopeful solution to Church-Government showdown is near

Under fire from Timor-Leste’s Catholic Church, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri dismissed any possibility of him resigning and predicted that negotiations under way with the country’s bishops would bring an end to 16 days of non-stop anti-government demonstrations in Dili.

Alkatiri met with President Xanana Gusmão, who has been mediating a government-church settlement, for three hours yesterday, later telling journalists he is hopeful that several thousand Catholic protestors would be off Dili’s streets by Saturday. “I think we’re very close to a solution,” Alkatiri said, adding that negotiations faced “a favourable climate”.

The Prime Minister also dismissed what he called “rumours” that he planned to announce his resignation to the demonstrators. “If I wanted to present my resignation, I would have done so long ago,” he said.

According to Lusa news agency, sources claim that a joint declaration settling the government-church dispute could be signed on Friday. While the bishops’ latest position was not made public, the sources said they included new demands. According to Lusa’s sources, the Catholic Church now demanded the government make prostitution illegal and that it drop plans to decriminalize early term abortions.

While expressing his optimism a solution was in sight, Alkatiri noted that some of the bishops’ demands would require action by parliament and could not be dealt with through a simple “accord between the church and the government”. (Lusa, STL, Timor Post)

Manuel Tilman attacked for the second time

The President of KOTA party, Manuel Tilman, has narrowly missed being attacked for the second time by members of the Timor People’s Party (PPT) over PPT’s claims that he is hoarding $2 million dollars stolen from the United Kingdom in two bank accounts. Approximately 20 members of the PPT surrounded Tilman outside his home on Wednesday morning demanding to know where he has put the money.

Tilman told Timor Post that he immediately called the police and due to their quick action, he was not assaulted. He said that Jacob Xavier, President of PPT, must take responsibility for the latest incident. He added that Xavier needs medical assistance, as sometimes he is normal while at other times he exhibits signs of being ill.

Meanwhile, Xavier said that the PPT members did not assault the KOTA President, but that they simply went to find out where the money is stored. He said that he would like the problem to be resolved in a proper manner. (Timor Post, STL)

TL delegation to attend Geneva health meeting

A delegation from Timor-Leste will attend the World Health Assembly meeting in Geneva later this month. According to the Minister of Health Dr Rui Maria de Araujo, who will lead the delegation, the assembly will discuss many important issues related to health, in particular, achievements gained and obstacles encountered in the health system. Dr Rui said that he would present an analysis of the current health situation in Timor-Leste. (Timor Post)

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