Subject: East Timor Nobel laureate urges focus on development

Tuesday November 29, 08:50 AM

East Timor Nobel laureate urges focus on development

LISBON (AFP) - In a speech marking the 30th anniversary of East Timor's short-lived unilateral declaration of independence from Portugal, the retired bishop of Dili, Nobel laureate Carlos Ximenes Belo, said his country needs to look forward and focus on development.

"We have already achieved independence, but independence is not everything. Now we need real development," he told a gathering in the town of Palmela, south of Lisbon.

"And above all we have to fight against poverty, against malaria, against tuberculosis and other diseases, against pessimism and impatience," he added.

Belo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 along with Jose Ramos-Horta, an exiled resistance spokesman who is now East Timor's foreign minister, for their non-violent resistance to Indonesia's occupation of their homeland.

East Timor spent some 450 years as a Portuguese colony before the left-wing Fretilin party declared it independent from Lisbon on November 28, 1975, following a brief civil war.

The next day neighbouring Indonesia signed a declaration integrating the territory within its borders and in December Indonesian troops invaded East Timor.


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