By Frank Gaglioti and Mike Head, 30 August 2001
Even before a single vote was cast in today’s United Nations-organised election of a constituent assembly in East Timor, the local and international media had declared the result to be a foregone conclusion. Fretilin, the former independence front that has worked closely with the UN administration since Indonesia’s withdrawal from the territory two years ago, was “expected to sweep to power” according to media reports.
By Frank Gaglioti and Mike Head, 18 July 2001
Approved political parties began campaigning this week in East Timor for the election of a constituent assembly on August 30. UN and Timorese officials along with the international media have hailed the ballot as a further step towards democracy and independence, and a vindication of the Australian-led UN military intervention in 1999 that seized control of the half island from Indonesia and pro-Indonesian militia.
By Mike Head, 11 July 2001
The ceremony was not as spectacular as in 1989, but two Australian government ministers still led a champagne toast when they signed a new Timor Gap oil and gas treaty with East Timorese representatives last week. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer held his glass aloft alongside East Timor’s economic affairs spokesman Mari Alkatiri in scenes reminiscent of just over a decade ago, when one of Downer’s predecessors, Gareth Evans, celebrated the original treaty with leaders of the Indonesian military regime.
By Mike Head, 26 April 2001
Less than two years after sending 4,000 troops to East Timor on the pretext of defending its population from pro-Indonesia militia, the Australian government is locked in an increasingly bitter dispute with East Timor's UN administration for control over an estimated $US20 billion worth of natural gas and light oil deposits beneath the Timor Sea.
By Mike Head, 7 December 2000
Australia and Portugal will finance and supervise the setting up of an East Timorese army, underscoring the proposed new state's reliance on the capitalist powers.