Subject: Timor's new assembly begins with mourning for U.S.

Timor's new assembly begins with mourning for U.S.

DILI, East Timor, Sept 15 (Reuters) - East Timor's first democratically elected assembly marked its birth on Saturday by mourning the victims of the terror attacks in the United States.

The inaugural session of the 88-member assembly to prepare the territory for independence next year began with a minute's silence for the dead and missing in Tuesday's attacks on New York and Washington.

"I address you today with very mixed emotions," United Nations administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello said before calling for the silence.

"Feelings of joy and satisfaction that this important day for the people of East Timor has finally arrived, and feelings of profound sorrow and repugnance over the tragic events that took place this week in the United States."

East Timorese understand better than most people what happens when reason and debate are replaced by naked, irrational emotion and violence, said Vieira de Mello.

Pro-Jakarta militias, backed by Indonesian troops, razed the territory and killed hundreds in 1999 after the former Portuguese colony voted overwhelmingly to end more than 23 years of Indonesian military occupation.

"Outside this chamber, just two years ago there were scenes of carnage and destruction when the losing side in the popular consultation refused to accept the result and sought to exact a sickening revenge on its opponents," said Vieira de Mello.

A new East Timor cabinet will be announced on Tuesday.


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