Subject: DPA: East Timorese dig deep for tsunami victims

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

January 16, 2005, Sunday 09:36:48 Central European Time

East Timorese dig deep for tsunami victims


East Timor, the former Indonesian colony that in 2002 became the world's newest country, is passing round the hat for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami that struck three weeks ago.

The first of the fundraisers was an army versus police football match at the main stadium in Dili, Australia's AAP reported from the East Timorese capital on Sunday.

The police beat the army 3-3, but the most valued person on the park was referee Xanana Gusmao, the former guerilla leader who was elected president three years ago.

"We are having many events - this soccer match is one of them - aiming to raise funds as a gesture of solidarity of the East Timorese people with the victims of the tsunami," President Gusmao said. He will fly to Jakarta later this month to present East Timor's donation to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The contribution is important because it exemplifies the pragmatism that has been Gusmao's biggest asset in restoring good relations with Jakarta. Indonesia very grudgingly gave up its former 27th province in 1999 after East Timorese voted for independence in a United Nations-sponsored referendum.

Gusmao spent seven years in a Jakarta jail before being released and leading his people to independence. dpa sa wjh

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