UPF starts having dialog with TNITimor Post , 31 August 2010- Summary by Alberico Junior
Timorese people still hunger justiceTimor Post , 31 August 2010- Summary by Alberico Junior
It is time to fight for development, says PM GusmaoTimor Post , 31 August 2010- Summary by Alberico Junior
EU gives NGOs opportunity to fight corruptionTimor Newsline , 31 August 2010- Summary by Alberico Junior
Govt calls on President Horta to continue defending Timor-Leste’s policyRadio Televisaun Timor Leste , 31 August 2010- Summary by Alberico Junior
Bobonaro Health Department holds Siska program in rural areasRadio Televisaun Timor Leste , 31 August 2010- Summary by Alberico Junior
Dili acts to ease concerns of drift towards China
AUSTRALIA remains East Timor's key strategic partner, says its Foreign Minister, Zacarias da Costa.
Mr da Costa said Australian fears of increasing Chinese influence on his tiny nation are "groundless".
"Our relations with Australia, with the US, in our security sector are improving and strengthening and I don't see (why) the statement of the Prime Minister should cause a lot of concern in Australia," he said.
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao fanned renewed concern in Australian strategic circles with a speech last week praising China's no-strings assistance, while welcoming the gift of a new $9 million defence headquarters and raising the possibility of Chinese training for East Timor's military.
But Mr da Costa, who has played a leading role in recent negotiations with Beijing, told The Australian that his government's interest in furthering Chinese relations was for trade and investment.
"It's purely trade and I don't think even Beijing is looking at a strategic military presence in East Timor, as many people are trying to say in Australia at the moment," he said.
The Foreign Minister also said Dili stood ready to resume discussions with any new government in Canberra about Julia Gillard's proposal for a regional refugee processing centre. But he made clear the process would be lengthy and faced big obstacles on the East Timor side.
Mr da Costa, however, expressed confidence that Australia-East Timor ties would be fundamentally unaffected whichever major party formed a government.
He said Tony Abbott and Ms Gillard were genuinely committed to the relationship.
And he justified as "constructive engagement" East Timor's increasing diplomatic interchanges with the Burmese regime and Frank Bainimarama's military-backed government in Fiji, which Australia seeks to isolate diplomatically.
The Dili government was intent on furthering relations not just with Australia and Indonesia but with ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea and the Pacific island nations.
Mr da Costa, who was hosted by Burma's Foreign Minister, Nyan Win, this month and will make a return visit to promote commercial relations, said his government did not shy from raising human rights and political freedom issues with the Burmese regime and Fiji.
But it remained committed to East Timor's primary security relationships.
"We are clear that in terms of security and defence co-operation we will privilege our co-operation with Australia, with the US, with Portugal (East Timor's former colonist) and Japan," Mr da Costa said. "I would just say to those who are concerned with our growing co-operation with China that it's groundless."
Even in trade, he said, Chinese influence was not comparable to Australia's.
China's trade with East Timor in 2008 was officially worth $10.4m (in current terms), Australia's was $37.5m, Singapore's $54.3m and former military occupier Indonesia's was $102.1m.
Recent Chinese assistance in the form of building new official premises, including Mr da Costa's Foreign Ministry building and the planned defence headquarters, exceeds $US21m ($23.4m) but there is also extensive civil service training and technical development. Australia is providing about $100m assistance to East Timor this year.
On Australia's proposal for an East Timor regional refugee processing centre, Mr da Costa said East Timor wanted a comprehensive humanitarian-focused solution.
source: THE AUSTRALIAN
JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com — Tim nasional Indonesia dipastikan akan mendapat kesempatan bertanding melawan Pantai Gading. Bambang Pamungkas dkk bakal menjalani laga uji coba tersebut pada 12 Oktober 2010.
Kepastian ini disampaikan Ketua Badan Tim Nasional (BTN) Iman Arif yang dihubungi Kompas.com lewat telepon selulernya.
"Tim yang sudah konfirmasi ke kami adalah Pantai Gading dan Timor Leste. Untuk Pantai Gading, jadwalnya 12 Oktober 2010, sementara Timor Leste akan main 24 November," katanya.
Kini, BTN tinggal menunggu kepastian dari timnas Brasil, China, dan Uruguay, yang disebut Iman masih berada dalam proses negosiasi. Khusus untuk Brasil, nasib Indonesia akan ditentukan oleh China.
China saat ini juga tengah melakukan negosiasi dengan timnas Brasil. Iman berharap, kesepakatan antara Brasil dan China nantinya bisa membawa kabar baik bagi pasukan "Garuda".
"Saat ini Brasil dan China masih melakukan proses negosiasi. Saya sendiri tidak tahu apa yang masih mereka (Brasil dan China) bicarakan," tambahnya.
Sebelumnya, Indonesia batal melakukan uji coba lawan Argentina, Australia, dan Korea Selatan. Argentina urung ke Indonesia lantaran hanya akan mengunjungi Jepang, sementara Australia dan Korea Selatan terhalang dengan jadwal kompetisi liga.
MPs criticize Carrascalao as leaves meetings
Diario Nacional, 27 August 2010- Summary by Alberico Junior Parliamentary members from the National Congress for the Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) and the Timorese Social Democratic Association (ASDT) have strongly criticized Deputy Prime Minister for Management and Good Governance who leaves the Council of Ministers’ meetings, saying such action is not ethical. www.timornewsline.com
China provides funding for East Timor's army
|Source:||7pm TV News NSW|
|Published:||Tuesday, August 24, 2010 8:48 AEST|
|Expires:||Monday, November 22, 2010 8:48 AEST|
China has been stepping up its presence in East Timor with the donation of two patrol boats and a $9 million investment in a new military headquarters.
“Alarm bells” ring for Australian government over deepening China-East Timor ties
By Patrick O’Connor
27 August 2010
East Timor’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão called for closer military ties with China in a speech delivered in Dili last Tuesday at a ceremony marking the start of construction work on a new joint Timorese military and defence department headquarters. The project is being wholly funded by the Chinese government.
Expected to cost $US8 million and take 15 months to complete, the new building is one of several high profile projects being funded by Beijing in East Timor. In his speech, Gusmão thanked China (“in the name of the fraternal brotherhood that links our two peoples”) for constructing Timor’s presidential palace, the foreign affairs ministry building, and a military residential quarters in Metinaro, east of Dili. The prime minister also expressed gratitude for China’s sale of two Shanghai class naval patrol boats, and provision of Chinese military personnel to train their Timorese counterparts.
“We are firmly committed to incrementing bilateral cooperation in the military area with friendly countries that provide us with uninterested support,” Gusmão declared. “Our Chinese brothers and sisters are clearly part of this group.” Then, in an obvious reference to the Australian government, he explained that “there is nothing that would prevent us from requesting and accepting [further military assistance], nor would it be legitimate for anyone to seek to constrain our options.”
On Wednesday, the Australian newspaper cited unnamed senior diplomatic analysts who said that “China’s foray into what has been traditionally regarded as ‘Australia’s sphere of interest’ had set alarm bells ringing in Canberra.”
Hugh White, a former defence department deputy secretary and current head of the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, told the newspaper: “It’s contrary to a very deep intuitive sense we have of our strategic interests. And I don’t doubt for a moment Australia will be very nervous about this.” The Australian went on to paraphrase White: “If a future US-China relationship became more competitive, with the region divided into pro-US and pro-China blocs, Beijing’s strategic military presence in East Timor could pose a serious challenge for Australia, he said.”
These extraordinary remarks underscore the mounting crisis of Australian foreign policy in Timor and the South Pacific—and the open use of colonial-style language (“spheres of influence”) points to what is at stake.
China, Australia’s largest and fastest growing trade partner, is extending its military and diplomatic reach across the globe in line with its economic dependence on the import of raw materials delivered via key strategic sea and land routes. At the same time, the United States, Australia’s primary military and strategic ally, is seeking to maintain its global military hegemony, in the face of its historic economic decline, and prevent the rise of China and other challengers. Ever since the end of World War II, Washington has delegated major responsibility for the South Pacific region to Canberra. But after more than six decades, this arrangement is beginning to break down because of the growing inability of the Australian government to impose its will on small neighbouring states and to shut out China.
The Australian military intervened in East Timor in 1999 to oversee the tiny island state’s transition to formal independence—thereby advancing Canberra’s strategic position. The intervention also ensured that Australian oil and gas companies could continue to exploit the multi-billion dollar Timor Sea reserves under modified arrangements first negotiated between the Australian government and the Indonesian military junta in the 1980s.
Australian troops were again deployed in 2006 as part of a regime change operation against former Fretilin prime minister Mari Alkatiri, who had come to be regarded as too closely aligned with rival powers China and Portugal. During the 2007 elections, held under the watch of the Australian military, Canberra’s favoured candidates José Ramos-Horta and Xanana Gusmão were installed as president and prime minister respectively. About 550 Australian and New Zealand soldiers still remain in the country.
Having expended considerable resources placing in power two individuals regarded as reliable allies, Canberra is now learning, as the old adage has it, that in international relations there are no permanent allies, only permanent interests.
In the past two years, the Gusmão government has moved closer to Beijing, consciously utilising the relationship as a counter-balance to Canberra’s influence. Chinese aid has increased, as has investment, including in prominent retail and small business outlets in Dili. At the same time, almost all Timorese exports to China are now exempt from tariffs. Yang Donghui, the Chinese embassy’s economic attaché, said on August 19 that this was aimed to “promote economic development in East Timor and boost economic and commercial ties between China and East Timor”.
Deep tensions remain between Dili and Canberra over the location of a gas refining plant for the multi-billion dollar Greater Sunrise gas reserves. The Gusmão government insists that the plant—which will bring significant economic and strategic benefits—must be constructed on Timorese soil, whereas the Gillard Labor government agrees with the proposal of Australian resources giant, Woodside Petroleum, to develop a floating facility in the Timor Sea. On August 19, two days before the Australian election, Gillard declared the plant’s location a “commercial decision” that ought to be made “in the best interest of [Woodside] shareholders”. This drew sharp rebukes from senior Gusmão government ministers, who held out the prospect of junking the arrangement with Woodside and allowing oil and gas companies from China, Malaysia, and South Korea to step in.
Dili has also demonstrated a willingness to defy Canberra’s dictates in its self-proclaimed “patch”, the South Pacific. The Gusmão government has said it will join the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG)—the Chinese-funded regional grouping of Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea. The Fijian military junta hopes the MSG will supplant the Australian-dominated Pacific Islands Forum as the key regional body, which is precisely why Canberra is so hostile to the Melanesian body. The Australian government sabotaged a scheduled MSG meeting in Fiji last July, but an East Timorese delegation was among those that subsequently participated in a “Friends of Fiji” summit, convened by the military regime.
Particularly significant are signs of growing tensions between Canberra and the East Timorese military hierarchy. Last Wednesday the Australian referred to “worries about Canberra’s handling of its multi-million defence program with East Timor, a program Dili regards as excessively conditional”.
Several weeks ago, East Timor’s Major General Taur Matan Ruak called for an end to the Australian-New Zealand International Stabilisation Force (ISF), insisting that his men were capable of maintaining security. Ruak has not publicly repeated this demand, no doubt reflecting the pressure that would have been brought to bear on him from Australian and other foreign personnel in Dili. That a withdrawal of the occupation force was raised at all, however, reflects the enormous opposition to the presence of Australian troops among ordinary Timorese. It also underscores the growing self confidence of the East Timorese military leadership. Ruak maintains a high public profile and regularly intervenes into domestic political controversies. Last month, leaked emails published in the Timorese press revealed that in December 2006, Finance Minister Emilia Pires feared that Ruak was about to emulate his Fijian counterpart and stage a coup in Dili. She also expressed a belief that the gang violence that erupted at the time was in fact a series of provocations aimed at destabilising the situation in order to provide a pretext for a military takeover.
Whether or not there was any real basis for such concerns, the finance minister’s fear of a coup underscores the highly unstable political situation in East Timor—no less in 2010 than in late 2006. And while the US State Department is yet to issue a public statement about the burgeoning China-East Timor relationship, Washington is undoubtedly observing the situation closely, as well as Canberra’s rapidly eroding authority in the region.
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[12 August 2010]
President pardons rebels who shot him
August 25, 2010
THE President of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, has pardoned 23 rebels involved in attacks in 2008 during which he was shot in the back and almost died.
Dr Ramos-Horta survived only after being flown to Australia for emergency surgery. The newspaper Tempo Semanal quoted Dr Ramos-Horta as saying he was releasing the rebels because they were also victims.
The rebels include Marcelo Caetano, who was sentenced in March this year to 16 years' jail on charges relating to the shooting outside Dr Ramos-Horta's residence on Dili's outskirts just after dawn on February 11, 2008.
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Gastao Salsinha, the second-in-command to Alfredo Reinado, the Australian-trained renegade military officer who was killed in the attacks, is also being pardoned. He had been sentenced to 10 years' and eight months' in jail for his role in the attacks on Dr Ramos-Horta and the Prime Minister, Xanana Gusmao, who escaped unhurt.
The pardons were published in the government Gazette on Friday but the rebels remain in jail awaiting a court order for their release to be issued. They are expected to be released within days.
Dr Ramos-Horta's decision to pardon the rebels will renew criticism of a so-called culture of impunity in the nation. Last year the government released Maternus Bere, a former pro-Indonesian militia leader who had been indicted by a United Nations crimes unit over the massacre of hundreds of people in a church in Suai in 1999.
Mr Bere was allowed to return to Indonesian West Timor, where he is a government official, prompting criticism from inside and outside East Timor, including from United Nations human rights officials. Indonesia had demanded Mr Bere's release without charge.
Three judges in Dili District Court who found the rebels guilty in March said they had ambushed Mr Gusmao but had not intended to kill him, only to destabilise East Timor.
Dr Ramos-Horta told the Herald this year that Caetano had admitted to him that he had shot him, and had apologised, saying he had not intended to kill him.
But in court Caetano maintained he was not the shooter.
The judges found his automatic weapon was not the weapon that had shot Dr Ramos-Horta, contradicting the official version of events.
Angelita Pires, the Australian lover of Reinado, was acquitted in March of conspiring to kill Dr Ramos-Horta and Mr Gusmao. Ms Pires now lives in Darwin, where she is planning to write a book about her life with Reinado.
Dr Ramos-Horta rejected claims that Reinado was lured to his residence where assassins were waiting to execute him, saying ''there are lunatics who make this kind of conspiracy theory''.
But investigators have been unable to prove why Reinado led the rebels to Dili from his mountain base the day of the attacks.
❏ A group of Australian defence personnel have left East Timor after a two-week visit providing humanitarian aid on the final stopover of the annual US-led Pacific Partnership mission.
Under the program, a team of US and Australian doctors and other specialists spend three months aboard the US Navy hospital ship Mercy, performing humanitarian, medical and engineering tasks. Engineers painted, retiled and reroofed a school in Dili with their US and Timorese counterparts.
Medical and dental personnel conducted 174 surgeries aboard USNS Mercy and treated about 19,000 patients at medical and dental clinics.
source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Horta pardons Salsinha and followers
Radio Televisaun Timor Leste, 24 August 2010- Summary by Alberico Junior
President Jose Ramos Horta has made decision to pardon the ex-rebel leader, Gastao Salsinha and his followers who engaged in the country’s crises of 2006. The president frees those ex-Timorese Defense Force (F-FDTL) soldiers; as they are only victim of the crises.
Radio Televisaun Timor Leste, 24 August 2010- Summary by Alberico Junior
President Jose Ramos Horta has decided to free Gastao Salsinha and his followers on August 20 and it is being publicized in the State gazette, but the court is yet to free them from the prison, as the court will make a dispatch to the Public Prosecution to learn about their sentence term and attitude.