Subject: AP: Nobel Laureate Asks Funds for Timor

Nobel Laureate Asks Funds for Timor

By MATTI HUUHTANEN Associated Press Writer

December 11, 2001, 7:57 AM EST

OSLO, Norway -- At a donor conference attended by 23 countries, former East Timorese freedom fighter Jose Ramos-Horta urged governments Tuesday to help rebuild his strife-torn homeland as it nears full independence.

"All we asked in East Timor was to be able to exercise the basic fundamental human rights and the right to self-determination," Ramos-Horta said at the opening of the two-day conference. "Now we need help to reconstruct the country."

"We desperately need more support," the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize winner added. "East Timor has had a remarkably successful peace ... but we need continued support for at least the next three years."

East Timor voted to split from Indonesia in 1999 after a 24 years of occupation by Indonesia and bloody guerrilla war. Up to 200,000 people -- a quarter of its population -- died in the insurgency.

The territory, which makes up half of Timor island, has been administered since by the United Nations and is set to win full independence on May 20.

World Bank President James Wolfensohn and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan joined the donors conference.

Copyright © 2001, The Associated Press

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