Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 17 March 2006


Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Friday, 17 March 2006

National Media Reports

Political Parties Must Maintain National Unity: Bishop Ricardo

Dili Diocese Bishop Alberto Ricardo da Silva has called for all political parties to work to maintain national unity as the nation approaches the 2007 elections. Head of the Millennium Democratic Party Hermenegildo Lopes alias Cupa informed journalists after meeting with the Bishop on Thursday that the Bishop has also asked political parties not to split the community by promoting the forming of disparate groups. He referred to the crisis in various countries in Africa and Latin America where society has been split due to political violence, and made an appeal that the same not occur in Timor-Leste. The Bishop said that he hopes political leaders will always keep the national interest in mind as opposed to individual and group interests, since the only victims of such a strategy will be the people themselves. In his meeting with the Bishop, Cupa invited the Church to join with all political parties in maintaining a situation of peace and stability which he considers the most important factor to guarantee democratic elections as the nation gets closer to the event. (STL)

Region III Secretary of State Criticizes PD Appeal

Secretary of State for Region III, Egidio de Jesus, has strongly criticized the statement issued by the Democratic Party that “if there is to be development, the people must leave Fretilin”. He said that such a statement shows that PD is “just lying to themselves”. The small parties should be making efforts to learn from Fretilin, he said. Using a metaphor to demonstrate Fretilin’s strength and steadfastness, de Jesus stated that Fretilin’s legs are made of steel and its cord is a chain, so anyone that tries to hit Fretilin will end up with an amputated hand. He emphasized that his criticisms of PD’s statement are in his capacity as a member of the Fretilin Central Committee and not as Secretary for Region III, and reiterated that the PD appeal is without basis. (STL)

If I Were The Rector I Would Dismiss: Alkatiri

Prime Minister Alkatiri is of the opinion that a certain economic lecturer who said that birth rate does not influence the economic growth is silly. Alkatiri added that if he were the Rector of the university he would of dismiss such a teacher. Referring to recent comments from various political parties, economists and civil society, the Prime Minister said that in order to have progressive economic growth the birth rate must decrease. (TP)

Christopher Will Be Deported If He Falsified Documents: Sarmento

Justice Minister Domingos Sarmento reportedly said if Christopher Henry Samson is not a Timorese citizen, there is no other option but to have him deported. Christopher Samson, the Director of NGO Lalenok Ba Ema Hotu (LABEH), has been investigated by the immigration police regarding his citizenship status.

In a separate article in Diario Nacional, Vice-Minister of Interior Alcino Barris said claims by Samson that he is Timorese have no evidence behind them and that Samson has not presented correct evidence to prove that he is Timorese. He added that the identification documents presented by Samson have only been produced recently and that his claim that he is from Bobonaro must be backed up with evidence. (TP, DN)

Troops Dismissed

F-FDTL soldiers who have staged a protest since February over allegations of selective promotions, have been dismissed, the Military Chief told the media on Thursday. "They are officially fired," Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak reportedly stated, adding “ those troops that have abandoned the headquarters are considered civilians as of 1 March 2006”.

In the meantime, F-FDTL Chief of Staff Lieutenant Colonel Lere Anan Timor reportedly told STL that the actions of the soldiers are against the law and the decision to dismiss them is based on Timor-Leste law.

Speaking via telephone, the spokesperson for the soldiers’ ‘F-FDTL Petition’, Lieutenant Colonel Gastão Salsinhas, reportedly said he does not agree with the decision. “ We are totally against the decision of the Headquarters in dismissing all that have signed the petition. We hoped that through our actions and this petition we would find a better decision from the leaders. But with the decision from the Headquarters, through Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, I think that injustice still exists.” Salsinha said. He added that the group maintains their position and will continue to seek justice. The spokesperson emphasized that the latest decision is only from Headquarters as there is a Supreme Commander of F-FDTL who is above HQ. “ Therefore we are all calmly waiting for his Excellency President Xanana Gusmão who is currently overseas. But, when he returns to Timor, we will present again our request to look for a better solution. Lieutenant Colonel Salsinhas added that the decision was made without looking into the root of the problem. F-FDTL Commander Alin Laed said that the crisis of the Armed Forces is not an extraordinary case. (STL, TP The Jakarta Post)

Comments on Xanana’s Candidacy (DN) p8,9 +16

In today’s edition, Diario Nacional gathered comments from various political leaders, business people and NGOs on whether Xanana Gusmão should present his presidential candidacy for 2007 election.

Following are some of the comments:

Fretilin’s Secretary General, Mari Alkatiri said his party will continue to support Xanana Gusmão for the next President of the Republic but added that if he doesn’t want to candidate for the second term, Fretilin will make a decision on who to candidate during its congress.

ASDT President, Francisco Xavier do Amaral, pointed out that many Timorese want to be President and that’s their right because this is a democratic society. Amaral said President Xanana should not be pushed to be President if that’s his decision.

Mario Carrascalão , President of PST said he would like to push for a young generation to take the place if Xanana decides not run.

Oscar Lima, a national businessman, said that it is too soon for Xanana to leave his post.

Secretary General of PST, Avelino Coelho said he’s ready to take over Xanana Gusmao’s place if his party decides to candidate him.

President of UDT, João Carrascalao said no one can change Xanana.

Aniceto Neves, Manager of a local Human Rights Program, said Xanana should be obliged to candidate as this is a violation.

Political party KOTA continue to insist that Xanana Gusmão should be the President.

National News Sources

Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional Seminario Lia Foun (LF) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]

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

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