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East Timor News Digest 11 - July 29-August 4, 2002

Timor Gap

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 Timor Gap

The limits of generosity

SBS Insight - August 1, 2002

[Australia and East Timor are squaring off for their first serious disagreement, government-to-government. Over the next 30 years Australia stands to earn billions of dollars in royalties from oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea. East Timor is getting some of the royalties, but believes it should be getting more. Tonight, we look at a relationship where the warmth of friendship and benevolence is being replaced by a tussle for cold, hard cash. This report from Lisa Upton.]

Reporter: Lisa Upton

It's a regular morning in the life of Eusebio and Tina Guetteres. 28-year-old Eusebio is a lawyer and a member of East Timor's Parliament.

He's from the opposition Democrats. A great deal of Eusebio's time is devoted to studying complex maritime boundary issues.

Reporter: If Australia is rich, why must they steal more?

Eusebio Guetteres, opposition MP, East Timor (Translation): That is what confuses me so I cannot rest. I have to keep thinking about it. But I continue to campaign throughout East Timor so the people can realise they themselves have to stop these unfair negotiations. The world's newest country is also one of the world's poorest. More than 60% of the population lives on less than $4 a day. East Timor's only real hope of economic independence is oil and gas from the Timor Sea, and like a growing number of Timorese, Eusebio believes that his country is legally entitled to a lot more than Australia is willing to concede.

Eusebio Guetteres (Translation): Australians must be made aware of these issues. Once again, I apologise, as Australians need jobs, but not jobs gained from the resources of East Timor. That is plundering our resources and our rights, plundering the rights of our people. Plundering the resources and the independence of the East Timorese.

In 1999, Australia won international recognition for leading the military intervention in East Timor. Australia also won the heartfelt gratitude of the East Timorese people. Almost three years on, a new nation was officially born.

John Howard, PM (greeting Xanana Gusmao): Hello there, how are you? Good to see you.

President Xanana Gusmao made his first official visit to Australia just six weeks ago. He was accompanied by the Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos Horta. But beneath the smiles and the awkward embrace, a significant problem had begun to emerge.

John Howard, PM: Great to have you here.

At issue, enormously valuable reserves of oil and gas in the Timor Sea.

Canberra, Dili, the Northern Territory and a host of oil companies all want a slice of the multibillion-dollar action. On the face of it, there doesn't seem to be anything to fight about. Just a few months ago, the two countries signed a treaty to develop a joint area in the Timor Sea. The major gas field in that area is called Bayu-Undan. East Timor gets 90% of the royalties. Australia gets the remaining 10%.

John Howard (20 May, 2002): Well, we believe that the approach we have taken to date has been very fair, it's been generous. We must serve our own interests, but also ensure that we are fair and generous to the people of East Timor.

Phillips Petroleum is developing the Bayu-Undan field. It contains $15 billion worth of oil and gas. East Timor is expected to receive $6 billion over the 20-year life of the project. The Northern Territory will also receive substantial benefits because a gas pipeline is being built to Darwin.

Clare Martin, NT Chief Minister: Tangible benefits are certainly something like 1,500 jobs in the construction phase. There`ll be something like 100 ongoing jobs once the LNG plant is up and running and of course associated industries and supplies with that, so it's a very large project but more importantly, once we have a pipeline coming in from the Timor Sea, we believe that it's got the capacity to provide leverage for other fields to be joined up.

But Bayu-Undan is not the problem. Overlapping the joint area is a much richer field -- Greater Sunrise. It contains oil and gas reserves worth an estimated $30 billion. Under the terms of the treaty, Australia will get 82% of the revenue from Greater Sunrise, East Timor the remaining 18%.

Australia justifies that split on the basis that most of Greater Sunrise lies within its maritime boundaries, but East Timor disputes those boundaries.

Jose Ramos Horta, Foreign Minister, East Timor: Australia is getting the lion's share of the revenue without really being entitled to it, and Australia knows very well that it is not entitled to it.

The competing claims to Greater Sunrise are based on complex legal arguments. The Australian view is that its boundary extends all the way to the Timor Trough. East Timor claims its boundary extends 200 nautical miles from its coast. Current international thinking about maritime boundaries favours drawing a median line between two countries. It means East Timor has a very good legal claim to more of Greater Sunrise than Australia is willing to concede.

Reporter: You say that Greater Sunrise should be owned by East Timor. Why did your government then sign a treaty that gives away 80% of Greater Sunrise to Australia?

Jose Ramos Horta: No, we did not give away 80% of Greater Sunrise. There is a clause that says, you know, either side can review the basic position, particularly the treaty says without prejudice to either side's claims on the basis of international law, and our position is very clear. We do not have yet a defined maritime boundary with Australia. We never negotiated with Australia a maritime boundary. We have not signed a treaty, unlike Indonesia and Australia in 1972.

Alexander Downer, Foreign Minister: I thought it was a tough negotiation. We wanted to be fair to East Timor. We certainly want East Timor to have a satisfactory and generous revenue flow from the Timor Sea because it's very important to its development prospects. At the same time, we obviously have our own sovereignty and our own interests and we want to pursue those, and as the Foreign Minister of Australia I make no apology for promoting Australia's interests.

Bob Brown, Greens Senator: I find it incomprehensible that we've been such good neighbours to East Timor and now we're in their house robbing them of their resources. What a turnaround! Were we ... this brings up the question: Was the Howard Government's quick action to help East Timor really to help the people of East Timor, or was it with a view to securing the oil and gas, the billions of dollars off-shore? It's a terrible question, but the way this is going, it has to be asked.

Master of ceremonies at conference: Prime Minister, I invite you to address the conference.

This is the man arguing East Timor's case -- Mari Alkatiri is the new Prime Minister. When Dr Alkatiri returned to East Timor from Mozambique in 1999, he was thrown almost immediately into oil and gas negotiations.

Mari Alkatiri, Prime Minister, East Timor: I tried to do my best. At that time I knew nothing on oil and gas. Now I know something. When the other side raises a problem that you don't know, it's better to postpone the discussions. This is what I did -- why I did it, was postpone the discussion, when the question is not known ... very well known for me, and I tried to study it.

Dr Alkatiri is confident that East Timor will get a larger slice of Greater Sunrise.

Mari Alkatiri: I am here to defend the interests of my people. I am here to defend the interests of my Government.

Reporter: What sort of bargaining power do you have?

Mari Alkatiri: The same bargaining power -- my people.

The arguments over who owns what in the Timor Sea are not new. Canberra and Jakarta could never reach agreement over a permanent maritime boundary near East Timor. What they agreed to instead was a joint development area where the resources were shared 50- 50. When East Timor became independent three years ago, the new arrangement on the Timor Sea had to be worked out with Australia. Peter Galbraith, the former US ambassador to Croatia, and Mari Alkatiri, led the United Nations team into negotiations with Australia.

They were determined to win a greater share of the oil and gas revenue and to establish a permanent maritime boundary between the two countries. Australia wanted the same 50-50 deal it had with Indonesia.

Peter Galbraith, former UN negotiator: I think the Australians knew they had a weak case and sometimes when people have a weak case, they use other tactics. They try to threaten, they try to be tough, they try to be obstinate, and I think Australia tried all those tactics.

It was a relationship based on mutual loathing. The view inside the Foreign Affairs Department is that Peter Galbraith was as obstinate and threatening as he accuses the Australians of being.

Peter Galbraith: There was a certain amount of bullying that went on. There was an effort to pressure the United Nations simply -- not to get involved, to leave this to an independent East Timor, because of course Australia knew that an independent East Timor would not have the same negotiating leverage as the combination of the East Timorese and the United Nations.

When that didn't work, there were many complaints that the East Timorese, that the UN, that I personally were demanding too much. There were efforts to go to other governments, including my own government -- that is the American Government -- to try to get those governments to pressure me personally, to pressure the UN, to pressure the East Timorese. None of those tactics worked. The East Timorese, I think, are incapable of being intimidated. After all, they stood up to the Indonesians alone for 24 years and prevailed.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague is the final arbiter in the event that countries can't resolve their maritime boundary problems.

Reporter: Did you ever threaten the Australian side? Did you ever say that East Timor would take Australia to the International Court of Justice?

Peter Galbraith: I did make the point that East Timor had an alternative of going to the International Court of Justice. And I don't think that saying you have a legal alternative is in any sense a threat. Courts exist so that people who cannot settle their disputes through negotiation can have them settled by an impartial, fair arbiter, who will apply international law. Australia and the UN Administration in East Timor eventually did a deal, but both sides have a very different view of what the treaty delivers. The Timorese position then and now is that it's a temporary arrangement until a permanent maritime boundary is established.

Jose Ramos Horta: The treaty is not a maritime boundary treaty. It's a treaty of cooperation and our position has been made very clear, time and again, that we do not have yet a maritime boundary with Australia. We wish to negotiate maritime boundaries. We do not recognise the boundaries that Australia is alleging, and which form the basis of its claims to the Greater Sunrise area.

It's clearly not in Australia's interest to agree to a maritime boundary that would deliver East Timor a greater share of the oil and gas reserves in the Timor Sea. Nevertheless, Australia says it is willing to sit down and talk to East Timor about a permanent boundary at some stage. But earlier this year, in a move that astonished the international community, Australia withdrew from the International Court of Justice's jurisdiction on maritime boundaries.

Peter Galbraith: I was shocked by it for several reasons. First, Australia has been one of those countries that has stood up for international law. It has been a very solid global citizen, so I never thought that they would withdraw, even though they threatened to do so during the negotiations of the Timor Sea treaty.

Alexander Downer: We don't want to get into litigation to try to resolve any questions that arise in terms of our maritime boundaries. We want to negotiate those with countries which are our neighbours as partners and friends.

Reporter: Did the withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the court have anything to do with East Timor?

Alexander Downer: Well, it's to do with all of our maritime boundaries and we have...

Reporter: But specifically East Timor?

Alexander Downer: We weren't just focusing as I've explained to the East Timorese, we weren't just focusing on East Timor. We have negotiations at the moment with New Zealand and we have of course, I've explained other maritime boundaries and we just wanted to do those negotiations as friends, not start litigating against each other.

Peter Galbraith: All East Timor wanted was a settlement based on international law, and international law is very clear that in these circumstances -- that maritime boundary should be at the midpoint between the two countries.

Jose Ramos Horta: Are we going to treat international law, the UN, international mechanisms as a sort of restaurant menu? You know, you look at it, the list of international treaties, and you decide which ones you like, which ones you don't like? Like, you know, if you go to a Chinese restaurant and you order, you know, the meals according to your taste. Well, you cannot deal with international law like that, and Australia is doing this.

The strategic view from Canberra is a mixed one.

Reporter: What does this say about us as a country?

Alan Dupont, Defence & Strategic Studies Centre: Well, it says that we're just as hard-headed as any other country in seeking to protect its national interest and there's a lot of money involved here -- jobs, royalties of course. These are very big, potentially, oil and gas fields, a lot of revenue from them. It will have implications broadly for the Australian economy and particularly for the Northern Territory, depending on how all these things develop, so there are some important economic issues at stake. Alan Dupont says East Timor is in danger of overplaying its hand.

Alan Dupont: There's a line beyond which no government can go and I think the East Timorese are in danger of actually now crossing over that line, if they pursue too aggressively the claim to renegotiate the maritime border and get a greater share of the resources cake.

Allan Behm takes a different view. He headed the international policy division of the Defence Department until last year.

Allan Behm, former Defence Department: If our position is either not capable of being substantiated at law, or, at best, doubtful or marginal, then we may well be in the position of creating that kind of resentment in East Timor that could last a very long time, and lead it to do things further down the track which are markedly against our own interests. Most people in East Timor remain unaware of the tussle between Dili and Canberra over oil and gas. Even at the country's one TV station, the story is only covered occasionally. Titi Ribeira is a journalist and newsreader.

Reporter: Do you often cover the Timor Gap?

Titi Ribeira, newsreader: Not often. Sometimes when, like, we have a press conference from Government, it's usually ... so we just go in the press conference to get information.

Do you think it's an important story?

Titi Ribeira: Yes, it's a very important story, because all people should know about the development -- about the Timor Gap, you know?

Reporter: Do you know about it?

Just a little bit.

Reporter: Do other journalists know about it, do you think?

Titi Ribeira: Not really, no. Just a little bit of information.

Since the UN started its withdrawal from East Timor, these journalists haven't had Internet access, and there are no longer any phones. Despite the challenges most evenings, the news goes to air. How many people watch depends on how many parts of Dili are receiving electricity. Eusebio Guetteres is among the tiny percentage of people in East Timor who owns a television. It makes him popular with the kids in his neighbourhood.

Eusebio is frustrated that the oil and gas story isn't receiving more coverage. He also accuses the Alkatiri Government of not doing enough to explain the issue to ordinary people, and he's determined to do something about it. It's now Sunday morning and Eusebio's heading for the town of Balibo as part of his campaign to inform people about the Timor Sea issue.

Eusebio Guetteres (Translation): Only Dili has television, and not everyone has a TV set. Only a few people have radios. Many people are illiterate and can't read the paper. It's not always affordable.

Eusebio's first visit is to the local priest, Father John Suban. Eusebio explains to Father John what various international lawyers have told him -- that the oil and gas claimed by Australia should be Timorese. Father John promises to distribute the maps and information to others in the town. It's a very difficult campaign, but support for Eusebio's stand is growing. Back in May, Eusebio succeeded in organising East Timor's first political demonstration as an independent country. The protest did not pass unnoticed by the Australian Prime Minister. Mr Howard made it clear while he was in Dili that the relationship would now be more business-like.

John Howard (May 20, 2002): Because we are now in a different relationship.

We are still two countries that have gone through a lot together, and there's obviously an enormous difference in size and wealth between the two communities, and that's one of the reasons why we've made a number of concessions in relation to the royalty negotiations and the split, the 90/10 that we think is very reasonable and fair, it represented a shift from our original position, and that's why we are carefully pointing that out.

Bob Brown, Greens senator: That's all a very insidious deception. We're giving the East Timorese nothing. It is theirs. We are taking from them. I met the Prime Minister in Dili at the independence celebrations. He said, "We're giving them 90%, what more can we do?" Well, I said, "We're not giving them anything. You are taking 10% of a small part of the resource, but when it gets to the big, rich, richest part of that resource, you're taking 82%, and it's an illegal act." It is illegal, and the Prime Minister knows it's illegal. That's why he's withdrawn Australia from the International Court of Justice's jurisdiction. So "giving them" -- my foot!

Reporter: How hard can the East Timorese leaders push this issue with Australia, given the fact that the Timorese are dependent on Australia to a large degree for security and for aid?

Alan Dupont: Well, that's a good question, and that's certainly one the East Timorese will have to ask themselves fairly soon. It's perfectly reasonable for them to push this as far as they think they can if there's a possibility of them getting some additional revenue. But I think the reality is, the Australian Government's not going to give way on this issue, and therefore, the East Timorese have to be careful they don't alienate the Australian Government, and even Australian popular opinion.

But the Timorese leaders aren't backing down, and their rhetoric has become much stronger since independence. Just last week, the parliament passed legislation relating to the nation's borders, claiming a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. It takes in all of the lucrative Greater Sunrise field.

Mari Alkatiri (Translation): We're informed that under international law our maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea would be much wider than those formally defined for exploration in the joint development area.

Mari Alkatiri: Peter Galbraith was very important for the whole agreement, but now I think that they realise already that the tougher position comes from a different person.

Reporter: And that person is you?

Mari Alkatiri: I hope so. I would prefer not to be.

Reporter: Is that how you see yourself, as a pretty tough man?

Mari Alkatiri: No, I am trying to do my best. I am trying to serve my people and this question of serving the people -- I will do everything possible to defend their interests.

Reporter: Does East Timor have the power to stop the development of Greater Sunrise?

Mari Alkatiri: Of course that we have. We have technical instruments, we have mechanisms to do it, and we are not going to do it if Australia is willing to negotiate the maritime boundaries.

Will you negotiate a permanent maritime boundary with East Timor?

Alexander Downer: No doubt that will be negotiated in time, yeah.

Reporter: Can you give me any time frame?

Alexander Downer: We haven't even considered a time frame.

The oil companies have stood to one side during the debate, but they're making it clear their patience isn't inexhaustible. Blair Murphy is Phillips` representative in Darwin.

Blair Murphy, Phillips representative: I think for anybody to develop these fields, whether it be Bayu-Undan or Sunrise, the developers or the oil companies want certainty in terms of the fiscal and regulatory regimes and so we would want certainty what the deal, what the project is.

The response from Dili:

Jose Ramos Horta: Well, I think the recent history would counsel the oil companies to be very careful that if there is no agreement on Greater Sunrise, that they are liable to be sued by the East Timorese Government in case there is no agreement.

In the end, though, it's not an equal relationship. East Timor will depend on Australian aid and security for the foreseeable future. The Timorese argue that if they could receive their legal entitlements, they wouldn't need Australian handouts. But any recourse East Timor had to legal action has been severely curtailed now that Australia has withdrawn from the International Court's jurisdiction.

Jose Ramos Horta: We are not easily amenable to pressure. We have our interests, our dignity, our pride, our sovereignty, but we are also pragmatic enough to know that when you negotiate, it is never going to be a 100% win to one side or the other.

Reporter: What sort of bargaining power do you have when you're dependent on Australia for security and for aid?

Jose Ramos Horta: Well, it's not so simple, it is not so black and white, just like that, you know. Isn't Australia interested in preserving in the eyes of its own people, in the eyes of the world, an image of a caring country, or does it want to be perceived as bullying a small country?

It's a Monday evening in Dili. The restaurants once populated by United Nations workers are much quieter now. Six months ago, it was often difficult to get a seat here. At Metro Cafe, the Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri is having drinks with friends and family. It's quiet here too. The owners say business is down 50% to 70% since independence. Money is still flowing into Dili through the international donor community, but in a few years` time, East Timor will be expected to stand alone. Just how effectively it makes the transition from one of the world's poorest countries to a viable state depends largely on who wins the battle over the vast riches in the Timor Sea.

Jenny Brockie: I should point out that Insight called the Opposition Foreign Affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, several times for comment for that story. He did not return our calls.

Good news out of Dili

Australian Financial Review - July 31, 2002

Bruce Hextall -- East Timor's latest proposal in the sharing of the Timor Sea's vast oil and gas reserves could be viewed as a positive step in resolving some of the issues now subject to debate.

For the industry, including major operators such as Woodside, Shell and US group Phillips Petroleum, they are pressing issues, including ratification of the Timor Sea Treaty, which at this stage represents an agreement to disagree until who owns what is sorted out.

As well, the unitisation of the Greater Sunrise gas field, which East Timor has laid claim to but is now proposing to in part cede, would also encourage major oil and gas companies to spend their development dollars in the region.

Greater Sunrise lies partly in the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) shared by Australia and East Timor on a 10 per cent/ 90 per cent basis, but is 80 per cent in Australian waters.

Agreement between the two countries on its development, and issues such as the fiscal regime applying, would give the project partners greater confidence as they work towards deciding the best development route to take.

That is a separate debate between the partners who are investigating the Phillips-supported proposal to bring Sunrise's gas ashore and sell it to the Northern Territory and the eastern states. Woodside and Shell have favoured sales to the US.

But before the $4 billion-plus needed for Sunrise's development is committed, an end to East Timor's claims to total field would help.

At the same time, the oil and gas majors would prefer the JPDA to remain under Australian administration, something they argue is of great benefit to East Timor itself because of the reduced sovereign risk involved.

Timor denies oil-security links

Melbourne Age - August 1, 2002

Craig Skehan, Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei -- East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri last night denied his government had tried to link negotiations on sharing oil and gas revenues to Australia providing maritime surveillance in the Timor Sea.

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, in Brunei for regional security talks, said yesterday that the issue of surveillance had been discussed in recent months with East Timorese leaders.

But he said it had not been linked by East Timor to the vexed issue of forthcoming negotiations on maritime boundaries that impact on the lucrative Greater Sunrise gas field.

East Timor has signalled that even if maritime boundaries are not changed, it wants a larger share of royalties from the field.

Australia and East Timor already have a treaty covering other parts of the Timor Sea, including a joint oil and gas development area.

A report in The Australian Financial Review yesterday said that East Timor had asked Australia to take over part of its maritime security in a new treaty that would essentially cover oil and gas issues.

But in a written statement last night, Dr Alkatiri said the suggestion that East Timor's Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, had proposed reducing its revenue claim in return for maritime surveillance was inaccurate.

"There is no proposal to link surveillance with petroleum revenues from the Timor Sea," Dr Alkatiri said. "I have been in contact with the Foreign Minister, who has made it clear that he was misquoted. The Foreign Minister simply said that East Timor and Australia would need to cooperate on the important matter of maritime security, as an entirely separate matter from discussions on oil and gas."

In the past there have been sharp differences between Dr Alkatiri and Mr Ramos-Horta.

It was not clear last night if there was a split between the two on any linking of surveillance to the wider revenue negotiations.

Mr Downer had brief talks with Mr Ramos-Horta in Brunei and a series of negotiations on the Greater Sunrise field is planned for coming weeks.

Australia recently decided not to be subject to the rulings of the International Court of Justice over maritime boundaries.

Even if East Timor could not win a legal battle, it could embarrass Canberra internationally if agreement could not be reached on revenue sharing from the Greater Sunrise field.

Already there is a lobby in Australia protesting that the government is bullying East Timor, which faces great challenges as a poor and vulnerable nation.

Timor offers gas-for-security deal

Australian Financial Review - July 31, 2002

Tim Dodd, Bandar Seri Begawan -- East Timor has asked Australia to take over part of its maritime security in a new treaty that would substantially increase the ocean area in which the two countries share billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue.

If the plan goes ahead, it would end uncertainty for Australia over the national ownership of the lucrative Greater Sunrise gas field, which has been the cause of increasing tensions between the neighbours over revenue sharing.

But East Timor appears to have softened its hardline stance on expanding its own maritime boundary. It will instead move to widen the joint-development area to win the sensitive security guarantee from Australia.

East Timorese Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said yesterday that he put the concept to Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer in Canberra last month and was waiting for Australia to respond with a draft proposal.

The deal would draw Australia into a permanent, formal arrangement under which it would take responsibility for part of East Timor's southern border security. This would give the vulnerable new nation an added guarantee of Australian protection after the tumultuous separation from Indonesia.

Mr Ramos Horta was speaking in Brunei, where he is attending the annual meeting of the Association of South-East Asian Nations as a guest.

While the Timor oil proposal is a purely bilateral treaty between Australia and Timor, it dovetails with the emphasis at the ASEAN meeting on greater security co-operation between the member countries, particularly on terrorism.

The ASEAN ministers are to sign a landmark anti-terror agreement with US Secretary of State Colin Powell at a forum today that will be attended by all key regional countries including Australia.

It could also be the venue for reopening dialogue between the US and North Korea, branded by President George Bush as part of an axis of evil, because North Korea's Foreign Minister, Paek Nam- sun, is also attending. Mr Powell said yesterday he would wait until arriving in Brunei before deciding whether to meet Mr Paek.

If the deal -- which Mr Ramos-Horta wants to be a formal treaty between the two nations -- goes ahead, it would end uncertainty for Australia over the national ownership of Greater Sunrise, which Woodside Petroleum, Phillips Petroleum and Shell plan to develop at a cost of about $4 billion.

Yesterday, Mr Ramos-Horta said he was proposing an "overall, comprehensive strategic agreement for the development of the entire Timor Sea area" that would offer a way out of the deadlock over boundaries and revenue sharing.

"Realistically, who is going to protect East Timor's southern coast. Either we trust Australia, enter into a strategic arrangement with Australia, or leave our seas open to pirates and drug traffickers," he said.

If it goes ahead, Mr Ramos-Horta's treaty proposal will head off a bitter dispute over the Greater Sunrise field, which straddles an area claimed by Australia and the "joint petroleum development area" in which East Timor is entitled to 90 per cent of royalties and Australia 10 per cent.

Mr Downer could not be contacted yesterday and a spokesman for the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, Ian Macfarlane, said he would not comment until he had received a full report.

The two countries signed an agreement in May to split Greater Sunrise revenue, allocating 20 per cent to the joint area and 80 per cent to Australia. Taking into account the joint-area revenue split, this means that Australia will take a lion's share 82 per cent of Greater Sunrise revenue, which East Timor still believes it should own entirely.

The agreement does not decide maritime boundaries and East Timor's Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, made it clear in a visit to Australia last month that he will push for permanent boundaries that would give Greater Sunrise - as well as the Laminaria field controlled by Woodside Petroleum, BHP Billiton and Shell -- to East Timor.

But Mr Ramos-Horta said yesterday that the Greater Sunrise issue should be separated from the maritime boundary talks.

"It means that even if, on paper, our boundary would include all of Greater Sunrise, we would be able to reach a separate agreement of revenue sharing on Greater Sunrise which would be satisfactory to Australia," he said.

Mr Ramos-Horta said he had not yet looked at the specific revenue split under any treaty over Greater Sunrise. He also said he had only had limited discussions about the plan with Mr Alkatiri, and it had not yet been put to East Timor's Cabinet.

But he said he was confident it would be accepted by Dili. "On our side, we have to be very pragmatic [and realise] that Australia will not concede such a hugely rich energy reserve. We should look at the entire Timor Sea area as a zone of friendship rather than fighting over details of who owns what," he said.

"Even if Australia was a reincarnation of Mother Teresa, she would be very hesitant to concede that much to East Timor. I don't think any government would give away so much, even if he or she knew she was not the legitimate owner."

Australia removed East Timor's legal avenue for pursuing the claim in March when it withdrew its recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea over maritime boundary disputes.

Mr Ramos-Horta said that, under his plan, Australia would take responsibility for patrolling East Timor's southern maritime zone and guard against illegal fishing, illegal migration, drug trafficking and smuggling, which East Timor had limited capacity to do itself. He said he also saw it including Australian training of East Timorese personnel and the transfer of technology for maritime surveillance. Possibly it would involve Australian use of East Timorese facilities, he said.

Mr Ramos-Horta said the plan would help create a "zone of peace and prosperity" in the Timor Sea and would link to an existing initiative to build commercial ties between East Timor, Australia and eastern Indonesia.

He said he also wanted to extend this "triangular relationship", which currently involves just the Northern Territory, to Western Australia and Queensland. He said he would push for a meeting soon between governments to look at economic development and trade promotion in this region.

 Human rights trials

Five officers in East Timor trials plead innocent

Associated Press - July 30, 2002

Jakarta -- Five senior police and military officers charged with allowing a church massacre to take place in the former Indonesian province of East Timor pleaded innocent on Tuesday.

The men are among 18 Indonesian military and government officials on trial for crimes against humanity. They are accused of allowing pro-Indonesia militiamen to ransack the half-island territory and kill nearly 1,000 people before and after a UN- sponsored independence referendum in August 1999.

Former district head Col. Herman Sedyono -- one of the five men on trial Tuesday -- said in court he knew nothing beforehand about the September 6, 1999 attack on the Ave Maria Church in Suai that left three priests and 24 refugees dead.

Sedyono admitted that he was present when pro-Jakarta militiamen attacked the church. However, he said his efforts to order the mob to stop were ignored.

One of the defendants' lawyers, Erman Umar, said prosecutors failed to link the five officers to the massacre. "We demand that our clients be freed, since prosecutors never found that they allowed the violence to happen," Umar said.

Last week, prosecutors demanded that the five get 10 to 10 1/2 years in prison. The maximum penalty for such crimes is the death sentence. A verdict is expected in the case next month.

Jakarta is under intense international pressure to punish those responsible for the bloodshed in East Timor. Critics, however, are skeptical that any of the defendants will face justice. They say the weak indictments, lax prosecution and light sentence demands underscore their point.

President pleads for leniency for ex-East Timor governor

The Guardian - August 2, 2002

John Aglionby -- East Timor's president, Xanana Gusmao, has unexpectedly pleaded for a non-custodial sentence in the trial of the former Indonesian-appointed governor, Abilio Soares, who is accused of crimes against humanity in connection with violence during the territory's independence referendum.

In a letter to the presiding judge read out in a Jakarta court yesterday, Mr Gusmao said the former senior civilian official, who is East Timorese, often tried to promote peace and should not be singled out. "Mr Soares' self-imposed exile must be considered punishment in itself and imprisonment would be a double punishment," the letter read.

Prosecutors want a 10-and-a-half-year jail term for Mr Soares, who is accused of not acting to stop the killing and destruction by the Indonesian military and pro-Jakarta militia before and after the ballot in which the East Timorese voted to end occupation. More than 1,000 people were killed in the violence.

Mr Gusmao's chief of staff, Agio Pereira, explained last night that the president believes Mr Soares is being made a scapegoat for the crimes of the Indonesian military. "The reality is that East Timor was ruled by the Indonesian military and the intelligence services, not the civilians," Mr Pereira said.

Eighteen government officials, military and police officers and militia leaders have been indicted by the ad hoc tribunal. However, Indonesia's armed forces commander at the time, General Wiranto, is not among the defendants.

Mr Gusmao's intervention shocked analysts and observers in East Timor. Many believe he is acting beyond his powers, and that he is out of step with public opinion. A western diplomat said: "He needs to cool it. He's risking losing existing support both as an individual and also in the office he holds."

Coming to grips with history, Jakarta-style

Time Asia -- August 5, 2002

Phil Zabriskie, Jakarta -- For a man facing the death penalty, Eurico Guterres doesn't look anxious.

Sitting in a steamy Jakarta courthouse, a ceiling fan whirring overhead, he appears to have given more consideration to choosing his outfit-combat fatigues smartly pressed, a red and white scarf tied fastidiously around his neck-than to saving his own skin.

Guterres is a central figure in the first ever human-rights trials held on Indonesian soil, a highly public attempt to account and atone for the carnage that occurred in East Timor in 1999 when the Indonesian military, in conjunction with local militias, viciously turned on supporters of East Timor's pro- independence movement. But Guterres, the leader of one of the most brutal of the militia gangs, wears the look of someone whose conscience is clean as he asks, "What do I have to be concerned about?"

International pressure forced Indonesia to hold the trials, but Jakarta, insisting the tribunals be under Indonesian jurisdiction, appointed local judges and prosecutors. Ostensibly intended to deliver justice to victims who were murdered or wounded while simply trying to vote in East Timor's independence referendum, the trials have come to symbolize Indonesia's struggle to rein in the military's influence on virtually every aspect of life in this sprawling archipelago.

From the start, however, the government has been accused of being less than vigorous in its prosecution. The indictments drawn up by the Attorney General's office focus on specific incidents, rather than attempting to prove a systematic campaign of terror by the military and its militia proxies. They charge military and police leaders (and Guterres) with failing to prevent the violence. The implication is that the murders, maimings and firebombings being dissected at the trials were a few extreme acts in an otherwise just and orderly operation. That's how the military wants its actions in 1999 to be portrayed, and that's what was heard until recently from people on the streets-but not what investigators, journalists and activists saw in East Timor, and have described in accounts available to anyone who cares to look.

"The indictments are so appalling that they will serve no useful purpose," says Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group.

Today's testimony concerns a joint military and militia raid on the home of pro-independence leader Manuel Carrascalao's in April 1999. One witness recounts seeing a friend killed, before being shot and stabbed himself; Guterres yawns. Another claims to have helped dispose of the bodies of the 11 people killed that day; Guterres smiles at a joke from one of his six lawyers. A third says he was forcibly conscripted into Guterres' militia under fear of death. The defendant taps his foot and glances around the room.

Guterres was videotaped before the raid calling for the destruction of the Carrascalao family and the death of pro- independence Timorese. He has been placed at the house by eyewitnesses. But those witnesses are not here. Those who are here seem flustered, unable to understand some of the questions, which are in Indonesian. There is no interpreter present. The chief judge warns a defense lawyer to speak more slowly and less aggressively. The lawyer says that East Timorese must be spoken to sternly or they won't understand, like children.

A special rapporteur from the United Nations was in Jakarta last week on a mission to assess the state of the Indonesian judiciary. He told reporters that what he saw had been even more disappointing than his already dismal expectations. For the duration of his 32-year reign, former President Suharto prevented the growth of an independent judiciary and kneecapped the concept of aggressive prosecution. Though Bapak is several years removed from power, many believe the rich and powerful still benefit from a favorably disposed judiciary. And the military's influence, far from shrinking, is being shored up. Which is not to say the trials won't deliver some convictions. Indonesia is aware of Washington's interest in the case. Following the 1999 slaughters, Congress passed laws saying US relations with Indonesia, particularly military cooperation, would be limited until the country accounted for crimes against humanity in East Timor, among other reforms. Washington wants to get closer to the Indonesian military, viewing it as an important Southeast Asian partner in the fight against terrorism. Some soldiers could get jail time and some might even serve it, but these will be sacrificial convictions offered up by a grudging military-not an atonement, not an accounting and certainly not justice.

The military is openly displaying contempt for the trials, closing ranks and acting as if they've been betrayed. Their uniformed, bemedaled presence in the courtroom can be read as an attempt to remind the judiciary where the real power lies. At the opening hearing for five men accused of allowing a massacre at a church in Suai, the five army Chiefs of Staff attended with their wives, a dramatic reminder that those supporting the defendants are more powerful than those who will decide their fate. On Thursday morning, the trial of Yudyat Sudryato, a commander of the military's Kopassus special forces, was in session. About 40 Kopassus members faced the judges from the gallery, decked out in full uniform, red berets tucked under shoulder straps and daggers hanging from their belts despite a ban on weapons in the courtroom. East Timorese witnesses find that atmosphere unnerving, and they're not alone. One of the judges in another of the trials, when asked by Time if he thought the soldiers were trying to intimidate the members of the court, nodded vigorously.

The day before, Guterres himself was strutting around the hallway, clad head-to-toe in denim, with his long mane of hair trailing behind, accompanied by the scent of bountifully applied cologne. (At the judges' discretion, none of the defendants in any of the trials have been incarcerated.) He ducked into the trial of General Adam Damiri, who oversaw the military command for East Timor in 1999 and is the highest ranking military official on trial.

When Damiri's session ended, Guterres hurried to greet the general with a handshake and a hug, and the two men walked out together, smiling-and confident in the belief that their version of history will live on.


Indonesia calls for restraint after fighting on Timor border

BBC Monitoring - August 2, 2002

Atambua -- Communities on both sides, namely the people of Turiskain, Haekesak sub-district, Belu district, West Nusa Tenggara and the people of East Timor, have been asked to refrain from fighting, following a clash between the two neighbouring communities on Monday, around Turiskain Market, so that it does not happen again.

As a result of the fighting, the good relations between the communities in the border regions have been weakened. Moreover there is a mutual need for the two communities to have economic and continued cultural connections.

The request was made by the Deputy Chairman of Belu DPRD District Assembly , Blasius Manek, through Pos Kupang newspaper in Atambua on Wednesday (31 July). He said that the two groups needed to try to restrain themselves, as incidents such as this should not occur if both parties made an effort. Moreover, he said, the market on the border had been established in the interests of both sides.

Manek make the request when asked to comment on the fight which occurred on Monday between members of the East Timorese community and the people of Turiskain, which resulted in two people from Turiskain being injured and the market being closed for one week following the incident...

[Source: Kupang Pos web site, Kupang, in Indonesian August 2]

East Timorese threaten to boycott 2004 polls

Jakarta Post - July 31, 2002

Yemris Fointuna, Kupang -- At least 5,700 East Timorese who have chosen to stay in Indonesia threatened on Tuesday to snub the 2004 general election to protest the government's failure to heed their demand for compensation.

Representatives of the former East Timorese refugees told a media conference here that since 1999 they had demanded the government compensate them for the assets they left behind in the former Indonesian province after the violence that followed the independence vote.

"We refuse to participate in the 2004 election unless the government pays compensation for our assets," coordinator of East Timorese claimants I.M. Ndoen said as he read the group's joint statement.

Ndoen valued the assets at about Rp 1 trillion (US$111.1 million), a sum that could increase, as some 5,000 claimants and their families had not registered their assets previously.

"We have written to the House of Representatives 12 times and the House forwarded the letters to the government, but the latter appears not to have responded," Ndoen said. "Perhaps the central government is ignoring our potential impact in the upcoming election. But with some of our family members becoming eligible to vote in two years' time, there will be over 10,000 of us."

Some 30 people, mostly women, accompanied Ndoen during the conference. They represent some 20,000 East Timorese natives and former East Timor residents.

Separately, East Timor Hope (HATI) foundation denied allegations that it had traded East Timorese children from the refugee camps in East Nusa Tenggara.

Secretary-general of the foundation Octavio A.J.O. Soares clarified reports that it had sold East Timorese child refugees overseas and had received donations from foreign institutions and the government to send 169 child refugees to schools in Java.

"All the children were voluntarily surrendered by their families and we funded them to study in Java. They were placed in orphanages or dormitories," he told a media conference. Octavio said that the HATI foundation had used its own money to pay the tuition fees and living costs of the children.

Of 169 children, many are still in Java; only eight have been sent home to East Timor by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to follow their parents and 10 were returned to East Nusa Tenggara, he added.

Octavio's statement was supported by 45 parents, whose children's education was funded by the foundation.

The allegation over trading in East Timorese child refugees emerged when a refugee service asked the local army to provide a security guarantee for some 10 children who returned from Java to East Nusa Tenggara.

 News & issues

Two Sri Lankans detained on suspicion of people trafficking

Lusa - August 6, 2002

Police have detained two Sri Lankan men in Dili on "strong" suspicion they were working as an advance team for an illegal immigration network apparently linked to the arrival in East Timor of a freighter loaded with Sri Lankans allegedly headed to New Zealand.

UN police spokesman Antonio Silva told Lusa Tuesday that the two suspects were detained Thursday. Word of their detention, he added, was withheld to avoid complicating investigations into the arrival in Dili July 28 of the Sri Lankan vessel "Cey Nor", carrying 58 Sri Lankan men.

Silva said there were "strong indications" the two men, whom he did not identify, were members of "a network dedicated to trafficking illegal immigrants to several countries". The suspects, he added, had arrived in Dili ahead of the Cey Nor apparently to arrange supplies of fuel, water and food for the vessel to continue on to New Zealand.

In contrast to the initial perception that the 15-meter vessel had arrived in Dili by chance, Silva said authorities now believed the ship, which had been at sea for about one month, had followed a "pre-established route".

After initially refusing the would-be immigrants permission to land, authorities allowed the group ashore Friday, taking them to a transit camp under the care of the UN High Commission for Refugees.

East Timor open to receiving 56 asylum-seekers

Associated Press - July 30, 2002

Jose Belo, Dili -- Although it's one of Asia's poorest nations, East Timor is open to receiving 56 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers stranded on a boat in its capital's harbor, its acting foreign minister said Tuesday.

The Sri Lankans were attempting to make their way to New Zealand but were forced to abandon their journey Sunday after they ran out of food, water and fuel.

New Zealand has already said it would turn them away. But East Timor struck a more welcoming tone, saying it may allow them to remain in the newly independent country.

"It is our moral responsibility and we have to give them assistance," acting Foreign Minister Jorge Conceicao Teme told The Associated Press. "In the past, many East Timorese had to seek refuge in other countries."

East Timor, which only became independent in May this year after voting in 1999 to end a quarter of a century of brutal Indonesian rule, is largely reliant on foreign aid.

The asylum-seekers -- all teenage and middle-age men with families in Sri Lanka -- have been given food, medicine and blankets by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said Jake Moreland, a spokesman for the UN agency.

However, their 15-meter boat has not been allowed to dock in the harbor of East Timor's capital, Dili. The asylum seekers have told the United Nations that they want to continue on with their journey, Moreland said.

Moreland said the Sri Lankans had been sailing for more than one month in cramped living conditions. But he said they appeared in good condition, adding that the UN agency had started to process their applications for refugee status.

New Zealand said Tuesday it would refuse the Sri Lankans entry and urged East Timorese authorities to prevent the men from making the rough, three-week trip to New Zealand. New Zealand, like Australia, has been reluctant to accept would-be refugees seeking a better life.

 International relations

East Timor strengthens links with Vietnam

Radio Australia - July 29, 2002

Vietnam and East Timor have established diplomatic relations in a brief ceremony the eve of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations foreign ministers' annual meeting in Brunei.

Vietnam's Foreign Minister Nguyen Dy Nien and his East Timorese counterpart Jose Ramos-Horta signed a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Nguyen Dy Nien says diplomatic ties with East Timor are in the interest of peace and co-operation in Southeast Asia.

Mr Ramos Horta, who is attending the ministerial meetings as a guest of host Brunei, has said he wants ASEAN membership for East Timor within five years.

ASEAN, formed in 1967, groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Brazil to help East Timor, from health to football

Inter Press Service - July 30, 2002

Mario Osava, Rio de Janeiro -- Brazil will provide assistance in a wide range of areas to help rebuild East Timor, the world's newest nation and one of its poorest, whose first president, Josi Alexandre Xanana Gusmao, is visiting Latin America's largest country this week.

Brazil's aid to East Timor began even prior to May 20, when the South Pacific island nation won independence from Indonesia 27 years after that country's bloody invasion. But cooperation will be stepped up through a new bilateral commission, Gusmao announced after meeting with Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso Monday.

At this point in time, Brazil lacks financial resources, but it is eager to provide technical cooperation in all areas, said Cardoso.

That decision confirms the Brazilian government's interest in helping rebuild the world's youngest country, a former Portuguese colony that lost one-third of its population during the 1975 invasion by Indonesia.

Brazil is the first country to which President Gusmao has made an official visit. Gusmao, a former guerrilla leader who headed his country's independence struggle, triumphed in the April presidential elections with 82.7 percent of the vote.

In April 2000, Gusmao visited several cities in Brazil, as president of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT).

This week he will also take part in the Fourth Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese- Speaking Countries (CPLP), to take place in Brasilia Wednesday and Thursday.

The summit will formalize the admission of the new country, which is located on the eastern half of the island of Timor, as the eighth member of the CPLP, which is made up of Portugal and its former colonies in Africa and the Americas: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tomi and Prmncipe.

The language linking the CPLP members is spoken by just 10 to 15 percent of the people of East Timor, said Gusmao, who explained that a full 60 percent of the population is under 25, and has had no contact with the Portuguese language, which was banned during the Indonesian occupation.

The country's 800,000 people speak at least 22 different languages and dialects, which makes communication extremely difficult in East Timor, said Regina Dominguez, with the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Research (IBASE).

But in the next 10 years, the expansion of Portuguese will make a "leap", as it is the second official language, along with Tetum, the most widely-spoken native tongue, and Brazil will play a major role in that process, said Gusmao.

Besides Brazil's cooperation in formal education and literacy drives, the soap operas that this country exports around the world are a key factor in helping the Timorese learn Portuguese, said Deputy Minister of Foreign Business Affairs and Cooperation, Josi Luiz Guerres.

The government of East Timor has obtained pledges of only 340 million dollars in donations from several countries for the first three years of independent life of that nation, which has been torn apart by war.

It is not very much, but "now it is up to the Timorese" to show donors that we will administer the funds in a clean, transparent manner, and that we can create a political and legal setting that is capable of drawing investors, said Gusmao.

On the economic front, negotiations to foment Brazilian investment in the oil, fishing and tourism industries are underway, as well as support in reforestation and agricultural production, especially coffee.

Brazil's assistance will also be important in creating an independent judiciary, through the contribution of several Brazilian jurists who are already helping the East Timorese draw up laws and set up local institutions.

This South American nation of 162 million will also help East Timor in a wide range of areas like health, international policy, military training, vocational-technical education, radio and television broadcasting, and even football.

In addition, Brazilian non-governmental organizations are taking part in campaigns to help address East Timor's most pressing problems.

Last year, IBASE, in conjunction with local organizations, developed a project for "citizen education", aimed at orienting popular participation in the election of a Constituent Assembly that will write the new constitution, through the use of community radio stations.

"It was an intense and exciting task," despite difficulties like a total lack of resources and training, said Domingues, who coordinated the project. One of the biggest obstacles was the number of dialects spoken in East Timor.

For its part, the Children's Pastoral, a Catholic Church group in Brazil, carried to East Timor its own successful techniques for fighting malnutrition and infant mortality, which are enormous problems in the island nation.

In Brazil, the Pastoral has brought infant mortality down from 29 per 1,000 live births -- the national average -- to 13 per 1,000 in the poor communities where it is active.

The National Service of Industry, a business organization dedicated to technical training, will also set up skills training workshops in East Timor, said Domingues.

The welcome that Brazilians have received in East Timor could not be warmer, thanks to the good image left by the military personnel that Brasilia sent to the United Nations peacekeeping mission and the operation that helped oversee the independence process.

Brazil's armed forces cultivated excellent relations with the East Timorese, unlike other contingents, like the Portuguese or Australians, said Domingues.

Brazil will even be helping East Timor in the area of football. Brazilian physical education expert Ricardo Whitaker Pacheco is the coach of the East Timor national team.

Many of the Timorese footballers play for just "a hot meal," due to the magnitude of the poverty in East Timor, Pacheco said in an interview that was published Sunday by the daily O Estado de Sao Paulo.

ASEAN rules out immediate membership for East Timor

Associated Press - July 30, 2002

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei -- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations has ruled out immediate membership for East Timor, the world's newest country, officials said Tuesday.

Asean foreign ministers, meeting at an informal dinner Monday, discussed bringing in East Timor as the 11th member of the regional grouping but could not reach a consensus.

Officials who were present, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that there was a prevailing view that East Timor was in Asean's "geographical footprint" and would eventually become a member. The country would be an observer to Asean "for a certain period of time," one official said.

East Timor formally became a nation in May after two years of UN administration following a quarter-century of often brutal rule by the largest member of Asean, Indonesia.

Rodolfo Severino, who steps down as Asean secretary-general later this year, said that the organization's foreign ministers could discuss the issue again at their annual gathering in Cambodia next year.

As an observer at this year's meeting in Brunei, East Timor has forged bilateral diplomatic relations with Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. A communique issued Tuesday included a statement saying that Asean was "prepared to engage East Timor in the long-term."

East Timor has said it currently lacks the money to attend Asean's large number of meetings. The organization's wealthier members -- Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand -- already provide funds to help the poorer ones -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam -- cope with the heavy diplomatic schedule. East Timor has been ambivalent about Asean, which stood by when Indonesia invaded in 1976 as the half-island was obtaining independence from Portugal.

Asean was also slow to respond to a rampage by Indonesian troops that devastated East Timor in 1999, when it voted for independence in a UN-sponsored ballot.

The arrival of thousands of Australian-led peacekeepers to restore order was seen as an embarrassment to Asean, though Thailand eventually committed substantial numbers of troops.

 East Timor local news

East Timor local news - July 31-August 2

July 31, 2002

The Timor Post ran a front-page story in which Minister of Internal Administration Rogerio Lobato was quoted as saying that veterans were only allowed to wear their uniforms on independence day last May. The Timor Post also reported that L-7, Eli Foho Rai Boot, has been named an official police adviser

MP Joco Gongalves (PSD) criticized the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Protocol Department for being "disorganized" in making arrangements for an East Timor delegation to attend an International Parliamentary Union conference in the Philippines last week.

Many students are reportedly happy because local and international NGOs are offering free computer courses and English and Portuguese language lessons.

Public Defender Benevides Correia Barros said that the Government must adhere to strict extradition laws and not grant amnesties to people suspected of committing politically related crimes in 1999.

Residents of Maliana are reportedly calling for police protection in the face of continued threats from the from the Colimau 2000 group.

The Suara Timor Lorosa'e front page reported on President Gusmao's visit to Brazil.

A member of an East Timorese GNR patrol reportedly punched a minibus driver in Baucau.

The Head of the Dili District Tribunal, Aderito Tilman, was quoted as saying that too many training sessions are causing scheduling problems for East Timor's judges.

Merchants are reportedly calling on the Government to crack down on Indonesians illegally selling goods in East Timor.

Deputy Director of the East Timor Police Service Julio da Costa Hornai is quoted as saying that the ETPS are keeping an eye on the Sri Lankan boat currently moored in Dili Harbour.

The Commander of the Fire Department Claudio da Silva is quoted as saying that the bombeiros are ready and eager to respond to emergencies but are hampered by poor communications equipment.

August 1, 2002

The Timor Post ran a front page story on East Timor's formal entry in to the Association of Portuguese Speaking Nations. However, in the same article the Rector of Dili University, Lucas da Costa, was quoted as saying there are very few benefits to be gained by East Timor adopting Portuguese as an official language.

The paper ran a story describing yesterday's familiarization visit by SRSG Kamalesh Sharma to the Timor Post's headquarters in Dili.

Dili District Administrator Ruben Bras de Carvalho said the municipality is planning a major clean-up campaign in the capital. Carvalho is quoted elsewhere stressing the importance of improved healthcare for children.

The paper ran a report on the UNHCR providing assistance to the Sri Lankan boat moored in Dili Harbor.

Suara Timor Lorosa'e ran a front page story on the meeting in Brunei between Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Ramos-Horta and his counterparts from Laos and Cambodia at which diplomatic relations were formally established. East Timor now reportedly has diplomatic relations with 25 nations.

STL featured a report on yesterday's launch of a maternal and child health care campaign by the President's wife, Kirsty Sword Gusmco.

The manager of the AMI clinic, a Timorese health care NGO, is reported as saying that the clinic has run out of water.

ETPS Deputy Commissioner Julio da Costa Hornai is quoted as saying that domestic violence is one of the most prevalent crimes in East Timor.

August 2, 2002

Suara Timor Lorosae ran a front-page story in which Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Ramos-Horta was quoted as saying that East Timor's young democracy will not be able to survive without continued international assistance.

The head of the Dili Tribunal, Aderito Tilman, was quoted as saying that that Border Control Department does not respect verdicts handed down by the court, and that the rule of law is generally weak in East Timor. 7 The Program Manager of Yayasan Hak, a local human rights NGO, is quoted as saying that Sergio Vieira de Mello is not suitable to replace Mary Robinson because he does not have an activist background.

The Coordinator of the CPD-RDTL, Antonio Aitahan Matak, is quoted as saying that the government should follow its own development model and not just simply adopt those used by other countries.

East Timorese security officials in Ainaro district say they are hampered because of the poor state of communications with the capital.

The Timor Post reported that President Gusmco's letter calling for former Governor Jose Soares not to be convicted by the Ad Hoc Tribunal was read aloud at the tribunal.

An accident in which a foreigner driving a taxi fled after his vehicle was struck by a motorcycle in Dili received widespread coverage.

[Drafted by Ghelly Corte-Real, UNMISET Spokesperson's Office]

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