Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 11 July 2006
Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources
Daily Media Review Monday, 11 July 2006
National Media Reports
Ramos-Horta Government Is Illegal: PD
In a press communiqué, the President and Secretary General of Partido Democratico (PD) ‘considers the new government unconstitutional if it is a continuation of the first government of Mari Alkatiri,’ reported Suara Timor Lorosae Tuesday. PD also considers the nomination of Ramos-Horta as the new Prime Minister and his two deputies, Estanislau Aleixo da Silva and Rui Maria Araújo by President Xanana Gusmao also illegal for not consulting other political parties represented in the National Parliament as per RDTL Constitution title IV, chapter II, Article 106. According to PD the new government is molded from a party involved in serious crisis. The communiqué states that the former ministers and the political party government no longer has the credibility to form a transitional government due to its lack legality and credibility as stated by the President of the Republic himself. PD is of the opinion the structure of the emergency government should be small and efficient with important function to assist in urgently resolving the social humanitarian problem, stability, justice and prepare for the general elections. The government, model presented by PD, based on the current crisis consist of 3 ministries. Ministry for Social Issues (health, education, economy and other matters) Ministry of Political Affairs (defence, internal and external security) and Ministry of Justice.
In a separate article Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres reportedly said the second government still is from Fretilin since it won with the majority of the vote and it is up to the party to choose the person to the head the government just like the case of Ramos-Horta. Guterres added the nomination of Ramos-Horta is with the aim to stabilize the situation and respond to the current crisis. He added the new Prime Minister has agreed to have a weekly meeting regarding the government’s program, noting the present government will give continuation to the first government headed by Mari Alkatiri. (STL, TP)
Parliament Receives Letter From Family Members of PNTL Casualties
Family members of PNTL casualties related to the events of May 25 sent a letter to the President of the National Parliament, Mr. Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres and read by the Parliament’s Permanent Secretariat during yesterday’s (10/7) plenary session, asks the UN to investigate those responsible for the shootings of the police officers. The families also want clarification to the public on the disarmament of PNTL only and not F-FDTL who were armed and shot the officers. They also ask the UN to look after the wounded ones, the orphans and widows and raise a monument in memory of those who died under the UN flag. A copy of the letter was sent to the President of the Republic, President of the Court of Appeals, Prime Minister and the Bishops of Dili and Baucau. (STL)
International Media Reports
Ramos Horta vows new era of security
July 11, 2006
THE Nobel laureate Jose Ramos Horta has taken office as East Timor's Prime Minister, vowing to end his country's crisis and putting on hold calls for him to be appointed secretary-general of the United Nations. "I am not a person of virtue. I am not Mahatma Gandhi," he said yesterday after he took an oath of office. The President, Xanana Gusmao, swore in Mr Ramos Horta, 56, under the watchful gaze of Australian commandos heading the 2500-strong peacekeeping force. The two men, architects of independence from Indonesian rule, then put their signatures to paper to cement the appointment.
Mr Ramos Horta took his oath in the president's office flanked by two new deputy premiers - Estanislau da Silva from the ruling Fretilin party, and Rui Araujo, an independent. During his inauguration speech, made in a hall with unpainted concrete ceilings and bare plywood walls, he promised to channel more funds to the poor and to maintain security. "The focus has to be on security so our people, our fathers and mothers and the poor can return to their homes," he said. He said his cabinet would be sworn in and start work this week. Mr Ramos Horta's name had been floated as a candidate to replace the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, but he dismissed the idea. "I have got another mission here. I would never be a good UN secretary-general if I was not a good Timorese first and a good Timorese must be in this country with his people in their moments of crisis."
East Timor descended into chaos nearly three months ago when the then prime minister Mari Alkatiri sacked 600 members of the 1400-strong army when they protested about discrimination. Mr Gusmao named Mr Ramos Horta the new prime minister on Saturday, two weeks after Mr Alkatiri stepped down after being blamed for the mayhem. When rival army and police factions clashed, the violence spiralled into arson and looting that ended only with the intervention of the Australian-led peacekeepers. At least 20 people died and 100,000 were displaced in the violence. The swearing-in ceremony was witnessed by various officials and dignitaries, but was not attended by Mr Alkatiri.
Prosecutors said they intend to question the former prime minister over his alleged role in the violence. One East Timor political leader said Mr Ramos Horta could face opposition from a section of Fretilin, the dominant party with 55 seats in the 88-member parliament. Ian Martin, a UN special envoy who arrived in Timor two weeks ago to assess the country's need for further UN assistance, welcomed Mr Ramos Horta's appointment, saying he hoped it would bring peace and stability. He told reporters he would present a report to the UN Secretary-General on a new UN mission as East Timor prepared for its national elections next year. The Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, welcomed the appointment. "Ramos Horta has talked with the President and will meet him soon," said the Indonesian presidential spokesman. "He asked for the reopening of the border so that the economy can operate and the President agreed." The two countries are now on friendly terms, although the border was often sealed after the recent violence in Dili. (SMH, Reuters, AFP, AAP)
MAN WITH A MISSION
* Jose Ramos Horta became East Timor's foreign minister at 25.
* He fled days before neighbouring Indonesia invaded in December 1975.
* He spent 26 years in exile in Australia and the US.
* In 1996 he and Bishop Carlos Belo won the Nobel Peace Prize in their campaign for Timorese independence.
* He returned to his position as foreign minister upon independence in 2002.
Timorese remain uneasy: Slater
July 11, 2006
AUSTRALIA'S top soldier in East Timor said the population remains uneasy as Canberra prepares to consider reducing its peacekeeping force in the country. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer yesterday said Australia could begin looking at downsizing its troops in East Timor now that the political situation was stabilising with Jose Ramos Horta as prime minister. Mr Ramos Horta replaced Mari Alkatiri as prime minister yesterday, vowing to end his country's crisis. Mr Downer said he believed Mr Ramos Horta would bring a new stability to the fledgling nation. Brigadier Mick Slater, who heads an Australian-led taskforce of international peacekeepers in East Timor, said many locals remained apprehensive despite the security situation improving.
"People are generally apprehensive, and it's not because there is anything going wrong," he told ABC radio. "It's (that) they are worried that things could turn bad again but there is no one able to give us a reason why they think they could turn bad. "They just live in a fear that things will turn bad because they so often have in this country. "We've got absolutely no signs or evidence that causes concern that things are going to turn bad." Mr Downer said he expected the Government would examine Australia's troop commitment to East Timor in the next few weeks. East Timor descended into chaos nearly three months ago when Mr Alkatiri sacked about 600 members of the 1400-strong army when they protested about discrimination.
He stepped down after being broadly blamed for the ensuing turmoil that killed at least 20 people and displaced 100,000. (The Australian)
Downer mulls cutting Australian troops in East Timor
Monday, July 10, 2006
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer says he believes Australia can now consider downsizing its troop numbers in East Timor. He says he believes the situation in the troubled nation will stabilise substantially with Dr Jose Ramos Horta at the helm as its new Prime Minister. Mr Downer says he does not want to turn his back on the East Timorese, but will look at the issue of troops in the next few weeks. "We can start thinking about those issues of downsizing our presence there, bearing in mind now that I think they have worked through the political differences that we've been urging them to work through," he said. Meanwhile, Indonesia has welcomed the inauguration of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr Ramos-Horta as prime minister of its former province East Timor. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono phoned Dr Ramos-Horta soon after his swearing-in, presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said. "The President congratulated Ramos-Horta on his inauguration as prime minister. He is a good friend of the president," Mr Djalal told reporters. Mr Yudhoyono called on Dr Ramos-Horta to continue efforts to promote reconciliation between the two countries. The new Prime Minister in return asked Indonesia to open its border with East Timor to allow the resumption of economic activities. (ABC/AFP)
E Timor hit squad surrenders guns
11 July 2006
The leader of a hit squad allegedly armed on the orders of East Timor's former prime minister has surrendered his weapons to the government.
Vincente da Concecao and his men handed in 14 weapons at a ceremony witnessed by the new premier, Jose Ramos-Horta. The handover is the latest step in an attempt to bring calm to East Timor, which has suffered serious factional fighting over the past few months. It could also help uncover the truth of claims against ex-PM Mari Alkatiri. Mr Alkatiri is accused of ordering former Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato to give weapons to Mr da Concecao and his men, so they could form a hit squad and kill his political rivals. Mr Lobato already faces charges over distributing the arms, and is due to face trial later this month. The allegations were part of the reason Mr Alkatiri decided to resign last month. He was also under pressure to quit because many people blamed him for the violence which has beset the country, saying it was triggered by his decision to sack 600 disgruntled soldiers. Gun battles between the rebel soldiers and those loyal to the government broke out after the dismissals, with machete-wielding youths forcing thousands to flee their homes in fear. At least 21 people died.
Mr Alkatiri's successor as prime minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, was sworn in at a ceremony in Dili on Monday. Mr Ramos-Horta is known around the world as spokesman for the East Timorese independence movement - a role that earned him the Nobel prize - and analysts hope he will be able to unify the fractured population. But the new prime minister faces a formidable task, says the BBC's South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head. The police have broken into factions, taking many of their weapons to join rebel groups in the hills. Much of East Timor's population has split into people from the east and west of the country, and huge temporary camps have sprung up for the tens of thousands of displaced families. (BBC)
Rudd warns on Timor mistakes
July 11, 2006
THE Federal Government should learn from past mistakes and maintain the present level of Australian troops in East Timor, Labor said today.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has said Australia could soon begin to consider downgrading its presence in East Timor. But East Timor's new Prime Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, said he believed they would need Australian forces in the country until at least the end of the year. Mr Rudd said withdrawing troops now would result in Australia making the same mistakes it did when it began withdrawing its troops shortly after East Timor declared independence in 2002. "Foreign Minister Downer needs to learn from history, he needs to learn from the mistakes he's already made in East Timor," Mr Rudd said. "Part of the reason why we had an outbreak in political instability in East Timor in early 2006 is because Australia pulled its troops out of East Timor too early." Mr Rudd said the early withdrawal of troops had created a vacuum by the end of 2005 which led to the outbreak of hostilities earlier this year. "Australia has a problem in its own immediate region and its own arc of instability ... when it comes to Australia's region, our neighbourhood our own backyard it has to be number one in Australia's national security interest," Mr Rudd said. "Instead, this government has been totally pre-occupied with Iraq." Mr Rudd said Australian troops should remain at least until East Timorese elections were held early next year. There also should be a UN Security Council Mandate for a continued UN Force in East Timor with Australia as the main contributor, he said. (The Australian)
National News Sources Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]
These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office