|Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review 24 March
Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources
Daily Media Review
Friday, 24 March 2004
President Xanana: Expulsion decision erroneous & unjust
President Xanana Gusmao has declared that as President of the Republic he believes that F-FDTL Commander Taur Matan Ruak's decision to expel almost 600 F-FDTL soldiers is erroneous and unjust. He stated that the matter is being treated as a matter of indiscipline without considering the root of the problem within the F-FDTL institution. However, he said that as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces he would respect the FDTL Commander's decision, as it is within his competency to make such a decision.
Responding to the President's declaration, human rights lawyer Aderito de Jesus Soares said that it is too late for such a statement. He stated that if the National Parliament and the Government were serious in resolving the matter, then the issue would not have become such a big problem. He criticized the attitude of prioritizing foreign visits over and above issues of domestic concern, and stated that the President should have made a statement on the F-FDTL case before leaving for his overseas visit, only to now return and regret the decision of the F-FDTL Commander.
Meanwhile, spokesperson for the 591 expelled soldiers Gastao Salsinha has expressed his disappointment with President Xanana's decision not to intervene in the expulsion decision taken by F-FDTL Headquarters. He stated that this shows that the petition presented by the soldiers has no value, which reinforces the impression that the general population continues to be oppressed, while the leaders make efforts to help each other. (TP, STL, Diario)
Xavier declaration hurts Fretilin members
Vice-Secretary General of Fretilin Jose Reis has stated that ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral's declaration that all Fretilin members are traitors because they elected Mari Alkatiri as Fretilin Secretary General, has hurt the feelings of all Fretilin members. He declared that such a statement is unconstitutional, racist and a violation of Fretilin political principles. He regretted the declaration also because it poses a bad example to Timorese youth. He questioned whether as the first Fretilin President, Amaral actually knows anything at all about Fretilin political principles. (TP)
Fretilin worried about illegal collections
Fretilin party leaders are very concerned with the behavior of some groups who are taking advantage of the population through illegal money collections. In a press conference on Thursday, Fretilin Vice-Secretary General Jose Reis asked all Fretilin members to monitor the activities of such illegal groups, as Fretilin has not requested any groups to carry out such collections, and therefore the collections are considered illegal. (STL)
East Timor asks Japan for help with oil and gas venture
Officials in Japan say East Timor is asking the Japanese government for help in building its oil and gas infrastructure.
In January, East Timor signed an agreement with Australia to share gas and oil resources in the Timor Sea. East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri is visiting Japan this week and has met with the Japanese Prime Minister.
Japan is a major donor to East Timor, which gained independence in 2002.
A Japanese official says Japan already helps train East Timorese engineers and Mr Alkatri has asked it to also help East Timor with human resources for the oil and gas project.
Japan imports all of its oil and gas from overseas.
According to the AFP news agency, Japan's prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi has responded to Mr
Alkatiri's request for help by saying that he sees East Timor as a good environment for investment.
He says he would like to see East Timor make good use of its oil and gas resources. (ABC Asia Pacific TV / Radio Australia)
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