|Subject: LUSA: Dili's Leaders Upbeat as
Donors Meet in Oslo
11 Dec 01 12:32 East Timor: Dili's Leaders Upbeat as Donors Meet in Oslo
Representatives of donor nations and international financial institutions converge on the Norwegian capital Tuesday for the fifth East Timorese donors conference, the first to be attended by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and elected officials from the Asian territory.
Dili´s transitional government, which took office after East Timor´s first elections last August, will use the two-day Oslo conference to drum up continued reconstruction aid and to present its strategic development plan, as well as its fiscal and budget plans.
Former colonial power Portugal has already announced its commitment of between euros 75 million and euros 80 million to East Timor in 2002.
East Timor, under UN administration since voting to break from Indonesian occupation in 1999, will attain full independence next May 20.
Dili´s leaders are upbeat on the independence transition process and the new nation´s future.
Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri told Lusa Monday that Dili planned to use future revenues from the Timor Gap oil and gas fields for investment, rather than to plug financial deficits.
Revenues from the Timor Gap, which should begin flowing in 2004, "should be considered as a credit" to be used "in the most profitable manner", Alkatiri said, adding that his government aimed to ensure the country`s economy was stabilized by that time.
He said predicted oil revenues ranged from USD 150 and USD million.
Dili´s foreign minister, Jose Ramos Horta, who will also attend the Oslo conference told Lusa that recent developments in East Timor, including the peaceful Aug. 30 elections, had "run like a thousand wonders".
He also underlined what he called Alkatiri´s "cohesive, collegial and pragmatic" cabinet, economic expansion of 18 percent, and a "booming" agricultural sector, all coming in the wake of massive destruction by Indonesian forces in 1999.
The Oslo donors conference, which formally begins Tuesday afternoon, is co-chaired by the UN´s transitional UNTAET adminsitration and the World Bank.
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