Subject: LUSA: Dili joins Non-aligned Movement, Gusmao thanks Jakarta for support

24-02-2003 17:58:00. Notícia nº SIR-4710372

Dili joins Non-aligned Movement, Gusmao thanks Jakarta for support

Kuala Lumpur, Feb. 24 (Lusa) - East Timor joined the Non- aligned Movement Monday as its 115th member state, with President Xanana Gusmao thanking Indonesia for its backing.

In a speech to the movement's summit in the Malaysian capital, Gusmao expressed "appreciation" for the "fraternal gesture" made by President Megawati Sukarnoputri of Indonesia, East Timor's former occupier, in supporting Dili's bid to join the movement.

In comments to Lusa, Gusmao said the Non-aligned Movement would help East Timor gain increased international "stature" and "facilitate contacts".

Dili, he added, would be "a true builder of peace, an active contributor in revitalizing" the movement and "an activist in intensifying South-South cooperation and North-South dialog".

Bilateral contacts with other leaders on the first day of the summit had brought "words of encouragement" for his newly independent country, Gusmao told Lusa.

Among the 62 heads of state and government at the summit, the Timorese leader met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed and Cuban President Fidel Castro. Gusmao also spoke to his counterparts from Mozambique, Indonesia and Afghanistan.

The president also expressed his regret at road ambushes by unidentified gunmen in East Timor earlier Monday, saying the violence underlined the need "to respond more quickly" to the country's problems.

JMR/SAS/CJB Lusa

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