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11 May 2013

First Debate on Compulsory Military Service in Timor-Leste

ETLJB 11 May 2013 - According to the plan of H.E. the President of the Republic, Taur Matan Ruak, the first meeting on the plan for implementing military conscription took place on Friday (26/04/2013), at F-FDTL headquarters, between members of the Military House of the Presidency of the Republic, the Secretary of State for Defence (SED), the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and F-FDTL senior officers.

Frei Guterres, advisor to the Presidency’s Military House, in his presentation said that "H.E. the President of Republic wants to implement compulsory military service for the youth within the so-called 'Cidadania Civica Patriota' (CCP) programme, which is aimed at increasing the sense of nationalism and patriotism, thus contributing to the defence of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity". Frei Guterres added that the programme will “reinforce nationalism and citizenship, further strengthen the awareness of the youth towards society, strengthen moral discipline, contribute to alleviating unemployment and reduce drug and martial arts related crimes”.

In his speech, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Lere Anan Timur, stated that the "compulsory military service is good for Timor-Leste since it strengthens patriotism and nationalism among youngsters" and pointed out the importance of "further discussing the issue, involve important entities, as well as the civil society” with a view to getting “information and suggestions on the impact, advantages and disadvantages of compulsory military service".

Major-General Lere Anan Timur added that it will be difficult for the F-FDTL to implement the law on compulsory military service in one or two years since the institution is currently facing a series of challenges related to human resources.

The Secretary of State for Defence, Júlio Tomás Pinto, on implementation of the compulsory military service, said: "It is necessary to carry out a comparative study of those countries where military service is compulsory, with a view to identifying the advantages and disadvantages of its implementation in Timor-Leste.”

The Secretary of State for Defence agreed with Major-General Lere Anan Timur on the need of "conducting a public consultation on the concept of compulsory military service before deciding".

Present at the meeting were the Chief of the Military House of the Presidency of the Republic, Colonel José da Costa Soares “Trix”, the advisor to the Military House, Frei Guterres, the Secretary of State for Defence, Júlio Tomás Pinto, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Lere Anan Timur, and F-FDTL senior officers. Source: Office of the Presidency Press Release  April 29, 2013 Edited by Warren L. Wright

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