Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 15 June 2006


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Thursday, 15 June 2006

National Media Reports

President’s message welcomed by MPs + MP Questions Xanana’s Capacity

MP Leandro Isac (Independent) reportedly said Members of the Parliament welcomed President’s Gusmão message on Wednesday. Isac noted that the message was also positive in that it would be a wake-up call for the Parliamentarians to look into the national problem. Another MP, Alfredo da Silva (Fretilin) is also of the same opinion. Jacob Xavier, PPT bench, questioned President’s Xanana Gusmão capacity to restore the current internal security which he says is still a concern, reported Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Thursday. According to Xavier, the internal security should be under control if President Gusmão uses the power of the Constitution as per articles 112 and 115 and maximizes the international forces to guarantee security to the population in Dili. He asked why isn’t the President is not following the Constitution to stop the suffering of the people. “I think the President has interest behind the whole situation, if he is serious the population would not be suffering the way they are and they wouldn’t be in refugees tents. The population cannot return to their homes because there is no security guarantee,” Xavier stressed. (STL)

Opposition Planning to Dismiss Alkatiri

Opposition met on Tuesday (13/6) to draw up a plan to force the President to dismiss Prime Minister Alkatiri from office, (STL) Thursday. MP Manuel Tilman (KOTA) told STL newspaper that about 20 people took part in the meeting claiming that some of the participants are reportedly close friends of the President of the Republic. Tilman refuses to reveal the venue of the meeting, for security purposes. STL reported participants in the meeting scheduled a day and place to present the proposal to President Gusmão in which they want to freeze part of the Constitution and dissolve the Parliament because, according to the Constitution, the President does not have full power. (STL)

PNTL will work with international forces in operations: Bar

The new Minister of Interior, Alcino Barris, said PNTL will cooperate with the international forces to hold joint operations to provide security to the community in Dili, reported STL Thursday. Barris said PNTL would also work with the present forces to investigate and detain those responsible for burning and stealing during the crisis. “ We are putting all efforts to bring all members of the police that have fled to start distributing tasks. We will cooperate with the international forces to detain people that are stealing and that were involved in the disturbances,” the Minister of Interior said. He pointed out that so far 300 police officers have rejoined the institution and he hopes that number will increase by next week. He said the majority of the police that fled were from PNTL Headquarters and Dili District Command adding that the Police Academy, Immigration Police and the Command from 12 Districts including the Border Patrol Unit, continue to function. The Minister added time must be given to collect the guns taken by some police officers. (STL)

International Media Reports

Singapore awaits UN lead on Dili mission

The Australian Patrick Walters 15jun06

SINGAPORE will consider signing up to any new UN peacekeeping operation to help rebuild East Timor's security forces.

But in talks with John Howard yesterday, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien-Loong made it clear that any commitment would depend on the scope of the UN mandate, including the number of countries contributing to the peacekeeping mission.

Singapore is not expected to contribute to the Australian-led military deployment in East Timor, preferring to consider participation under the UN.

Mr Lee discussed East Timor and other security issues, including Iraq and Islamist terrorism, during his first prime ministerial visit to Canberra yesterday.

He said Australia and Singapore had dealt with some difficult issues over the past year - alluding to the hanging of Australian drug courier Nguyen Tuong Van in December, and Canberra's decision to refuse Singapore Airlines rights to fly the Pacific route.

He discussed the issue of the death penalty for drug traffickers with the Prime Minister yesterday, but emphasised his stand had not changed.

"Our position is quite clear that the death penalty is part of our criminal justice system. It applies in particular to drug traffickers, whether they're Singaporeans or foreigners," he said.

Mr Lee said Singapore's hard line on drug traffickers was not aimed at Australians or any particular country, but was a set of laws "which apply in Singapore and which we have to enforce impartially, and which we will continue to do so".

He said Singapore still hoped for a review by Canberra of its decision on trans-Pacific rights for Singapore Airlines, saying an open skies pact could fall within the framework of the two countries' free trade agreement.

"The Australian Government has made a decision not to open the trans-Pacific route to SIA (Singapore International Airlines). We respect that decision, but we hope they will be willing to reconsider the matter and revisit it in future," Mr Lee said.

He told a parliamentary lunch yesterday that relations had never been stronger, with Singapore and Australia sharing common perspectives on regional and international strategic issues.

"We see the US as a benign and positive influence, contributing to peace and stability in the region," Mr Lee said.

"We believe the emergence of China and India are positive for Asia and the world."

PM - Gusmao blocks calls for PM's removal

PM - Wednesday, 14 June , 2006 18:25:13 Reporter: Anne Barker

MARK COLVIN: East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao appears to have stymied calls for the removal of the Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.

President Gusmao has resisted pressure to suspend the country's constitution, to dissolve the Parliament and install a transitional government.

In an address to the nation's Parliament this morning, the President declared he would uphold the constitution to safeguard democracy, at least until his term ends next year.

As Anne Barker reports, the announcement comes as East Timor begins its own criminal investigations into the many violent deaths over recent weeks.

(sound of Xanana Gusmao speaking)

ANNE BARKER: It was only a short address before East Timor's Parliament, but Xanana Gusmao's words could have far-reaching implications for this tiny fragile nation.

In Portuguese, he addressed the nation's 88 parliamentarians for the first time since East Timor descended into chaos more than a month ago.

President Gusmao compared the crisis to the bloodshed of 1999, albeit on a smaller scale.

He said the weeks of violence had caused unacceptable suffering and fear and paralysed state institutions. But it's clear the President did not support those who believe the only solution is to suspend East Timor's constitution and dissolve the Parliament.

(sound of Xanana Gusmao speaking)

"It is incumbent on me to be the guardian of the constitution," he said, "and to be a guardian of the constitution basically means to safeguard the democratic state based on the rule of law."

"To the happiness of some and to the discontent of others, I will continue to fulfil this sacred duty until the end of my mandate in May 2007. And I will do so," he said, "unwaveringly, and the people can be sure of that."

Xanana Gusmao's decision will, in his own words, be a cause of discontent to the many opponents of Mari Alkatiri. There's widespread resentment in the community at the way the Prime Minister has handled the crisis, and continuing allegations that he was involved in some of the deaths.

His opponents can now only take solace in news that United Nations prosecutors have begun a criminal investigation into the various killings.

The UN's Special Representative in East Timor, Sukehiro Hasegawa, says four investigators attached to the Office of East Timor's Prosecutor-General will examine the circumstance surrounding the deaths of 10 police officers in a gunfight last month, and at least five protesters on April the 28th.

SUKEHIRO HASEGAWA: And they have commenced their criminal investigations. They will do so with the view to establishing the accountability of those who are responsible.

ANNE BARKER: What will happen to those who are found to be responsible for the violence?

SUKEHIRO HASEGAWA: I think we cannot presume the outcome of number one the investigations. I think United Nations is totally committed to the principle of justice, therefore it is not incumbent on me to hypothesise what would happen.

ANNE BARKER: So would they be tried?

SUKEHIRO HASEGAWA: I think the course of justice has to take place; this is a democratically principled country.

ANNE BARKER: The United Nations Human Rights Commission, based in Geneva, is setting up its own separate inquiry into the deaths, and Mr Hasegawa appeared to confirm today that there will be an investigation into the allegations against Mari Alkatiri that he was behind the spate of killings.

MARK COLVIN: Anne Barker.

NZ soldier shot by dart in East Timor 15 June 2006

A New Zealand soldier has been injured by a dart in East Timor the Defence Force says.

The soldier was struck in the thigh by a dart as his control dispersed a group of youths in Hera, near Dili.

The soldier was treated by a medical officer before returning to his platoon. Approximately seven youths have been detained as a result of the incident.

Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Harker, said it was a minor incident and the soldier would be back on patrol within the next 24 hours.

East Timor's worst unrest since its bloody break from Indonesian rule in 1999 began in March when some 600 striking soldiers were dismissed.

New Zealand soldier Private Leonard Manning was killed in the previous unrest.

He became the UN's first combat fatality in Timor on July 24, 2000, when shot in an ambush during a security sweep in a rugged border region.

East Timor militiaman Yacobus Bere is serving a six-year jail sentence imposed by a court in Jakarta after he was prosecuted as one of five people who sneaked into East Timor and killed Pte Manning, 24.

These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office

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