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The Forum > Article Comments > Challenges for the Xanana alliance > Comments

Challenges for the Xanana alliance : Comments

By Tim Anderson, published 17/10/2007

Timor Leste has acquired a weak and disparate government vulnerable to external pressures: Xanana Gusmão faces some substantial challenges.

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I think this is a very informative, balanced and thoughtful article (streets ahead of Tim's last Cuban article) on a country whose political stability is important to Australia. Rising world oil and gas prices will make East Timor steadily more economically important to us.

Tim could have noted China's increasing interest in the country - see TVNZ's Sept 21, 2007 article indicates

"...Chinese businessmen want to invest more than $US100 million ... in East Timor over the next 10 years in a range of sectors from banking to agriculture, a Chinese business delegation said on Friday.

"... We have come here to meet with relevant ministries to find the way how we can invest in East Timor," a spokesman for the delegation visiting East Timor, Lu Yong Hua, told Reuters.

...Lu said the private sector delegation was seeking investment in commercial banking, agriculture, property and road construction.

He added projects worth $US10 million were expected to start next year and give jobs to 50,000 locals. ..."

Also see The Age, March 3, 2007 :

"...They say China is looking to East Timor for a source of raw materials and energy supplies and wants to develop close ties with Dili as part of a strategy to expand Beijing's influence in South-East Asia.

Diplomats say China is also keen to use close ties with Dili to limit Taiwan's ambitions in the region.

As well as the Foreign Ministry, China plans to build a new presidential palace and its own embassy, all overseen by Chinese engineers and built by Chinese and Timorese workers.

China has wooed East Timor's leaders with all-expenses-paid trips to China, established tentative relations with East Timor's army, including donating equipment such as tents and uniforms, and has paid for at least six army officers to be trained in China..."

China's influence in East Timor is probably something to watch.

Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 17 October 2007 4:49:54 PM
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As a person who firmly opposed East Timorese "Independence" and Australian intervention in East Timor, on the grounds that it would merely create an unstable state which the Australian government will have to prop up forever with taxpayer funds, it is with great pleasure I say "I told you so."

With Sydney's Royal North Shore hospital shunting patients into storage rooms, men refused admission to Liverpool hospital being found dead in the hospital car park, and patients dying for lack of funds in Camden hospital, it is an obscenity for $300 million+ Australian dollars to be squandered financing an obscenely overpopulated Catholic country which will always remain a financial black hole because of its religious culture.

The Australian government would be better off inviting Indonesia to invade the place again. Failing that, we should send the Vatican a strongly worded note that their religious beliefs regarding contraception amount to social suicide, and then send 300 million free condoms to East Timor to emphasise our point.

If the Pope wishes East Timor to remain a Catholic governed country, then he can send the Swiss Guards, complete with their halberds to keep the crazy locals under control. They can stand in the middle of the two warring factions and get shot at by both sides, instead of Aussie troops. The Catholic Church can also take over the financial upkeep of this Catholic state, instead of palming their responsibilities off on the Aussie taxpayer, who's hospitals, schools, and scientific research centres are a disgrace.
Posted by redneck, Thursday, 18 October 2007 4:58:33 AM
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True to form, Redneck's contribution borne out of utter ignorance of the facts amounts to nothing more than anal leakage.

Tim's article is as close to reality as any foreign observer can get without being privy to all the dealings of the co-conspirators who successfully brought down the Alkatiri Government.

The present coalition government has already shown that it is prepared to acquire 40 million from the petroleum fund without first producing a budget. This amounts to a Horta slush fund and time will tell whether or not the Gusmao / Horta alliance manages to survive a full term.
Posted by maracas, Friday, 19 October 2007 10:16:40 AM
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