Subject: LUSA: Independence Only with Adequate Infrastructures, says Bishop

East Timor: Independence Only with Adequate Infrastructures, says Bishop 18 Jan-18:51

The independence of East Timor should only take place when the territory is endowed with the infrastructures necessary for self- government, the Catholic bishop of Baucau (the territory's second city) said Thursday in Lisbon.

Basilio de Nascimento, who has been in Portugal for the past two months, for health reasons, made his comments after being received by Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio.

"I go from the principle that for a country to get going, what's needed are sufficient infrastructures to be able to cope. To anticipate things just because we want to be independent may not be the best course", de Nascimento said.

The East Timorese bishop said it would be "great" if the infrast[r]u[ctu]res for independence were in place during the present year, but added that "no-one will be hurt" if it is necessary "to wait a bit longer".

East Timor lacks "human structures able to manage a country", de Nascimento said, specifying that "it's one thing to fight against the occupier and another to manage a country", a task he termed "very difficult".

Top concerns listed by the bishop included East Timor's food supply, the building of leadership structures and, most important, the "unity of politicians".

The formation of political parties was no cause for worry, he stressed, because the people "are learning to live with democracy", although this should not "lead to a fratricidal struggle, but rather a manner to find the best ways to serve East Timor and the East Timorese".

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