Subject: AFP: East Timor lacks funds for self-sufficiency: cabinet member

Agence France Presse November 12, 2000, Sunday

East Timor lacks funds for self-sufficiency: cabinet member By Bronwyn Curran

DILI, East Timor, Nov 12 (AFP) - East Timorese leaders and UN administrators here told a visiting Security Council delegation Sunday that difficulties still plagued the territory, 14 months after its rejection of Indonesian rule.

"There is progress being made here by UNTAET (UN Transitional Authority in East Timor) but of course there are also difficulties," delegation leader Ambassador Martin Andjaba told journalists after a morning of briefings.

"We hope that every effort will be made to overcome those difficulties," he said, refusing to reveal details.

The delegation is on the first leg of a six-day mission to East Timor and Indonesia to assess the territory's progress towards nationhood, and Jakarta's approach to East Timorese refugees and anti-independence militia on its western half of Timor island.

Andjaba said that examining how to get an estimated 130,000 refugees out of the camps was a top priority of the mission's two days in East Timor.

However, a member of the transitional cabinet said that inadequate funding meant that many areas would be unable to provide even the most basic facilities for those returning.

The member for infrastructure, Joao Carrascalao, confronted the delegation about a chronic shortfall in donor funds

"We need at least 100 million dollars to rehabilitate the basic services that the population needs and to set up a proper administration and now we are running on a budget of 15 million dollars," Carrascalao told AFP.

A conservative estimate of the total infrastructure damage wreaked by pro-Jakarta militias during an orgy of destruction after the independence vote in August last year was three billion dollars, Carrascalao said.

"Power, public works, land and properties, water and sanitation, ports and airports, everything was destroyed," he said.

The 15 million dollars was "not enough to rebuild the infrastructure and not enough to have the proper human resources in place to carry out all the work.

"In my area I told (the delegation) that we cannot see that we will able to stand on our own feet within the next five years, especially on the senior management level."

The delegation was also briefed on bilateral talks between Indonesia and East Timor, and preparations for the country's first elections next year, a UN official told AFP.

Andjaba however refused to elaborate on specifics.

Nobel peace laureate and the transitional cabinet's foreign minister, Jose Ramos Horta, said he would tell the delegation that their very presence was increasing pressure on Indonesia to deal with the refugees.

"The fact that they are here and going to West Timor and Indonesia that's already a friendly pressure on Indonesia to make sure the Indonesians live up to their responsibilities," Horta told journalists before briefing the delegation.

He advocated praise for Jakarta's efforts to rein in the militia and deal with the refugees, pointing to the militia as the main obstacle in bringing them home.

"The Indonesian military do seem to be trying to stop intimidation but the militias continue to be pervasive in the camps.

"I hope that the military will be able to stop the militias from intimidating those who want to return," Horta said.

The mission will travel to West Timor on Tuesday and Wednesday to check on Indonesia's progress in disarming and disbanding the pro-Jakarta militia, Aandjaba said.

The delegation will meet top-level Indonesian officials in Jakarta on Thursday and Friday.

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