Subject: LUSA: Lisbon military officer to advise Gusmão on new defense body

East Timor: Lisbon military officer to advise Gusmão on new defense body

Dili, Jan. 31 (Lusa) - A senior Portuguese Navy officer will advise President Xanana Gusmão on the setting up of a military support service for East Timor's head of state, a Lisbon official said Monday.

State Secretary for Defense Jorge Neto, who arrived Sunday on an official visit to Timor, said Commander Mario Chagas would arrive by March to advise Gusmão on the creation of the so called "Military House".

Neto met Monday with Prime Minister Mari Alkitiri and has scheduled encounters with senior UN envoy Sukehiro Hasegawa and the head of the East Timor Defense Force, Gen. Taur Matan Ruak.

Before leaving Dili Wednesday, the Lisbon official will sign Portugal's military cooperation program for 2003-2005 with his couterpart, Roque Rodrigues.

Portugal has been Timor's main partner in military cooperation, with Lisbon's funding to the new nations's defense and security services totaling euros 4 million to date, according to official Dili figures seen by Lusa.



East Timor: Lisbon, Dili broaden defense cooperation with new accord

Dili, Feb. 1 31 (Lusa) - East Timor and Portugal signed a new military cooperation accord Tuesday, continuing and broadening Lisbon's aid to Dili's fledgling defense forces.

The agreement capped a three-day visit to Dili by Portugal's state secretary for defense, Jorge Neto, who said Lisbon gave maximum priority to bilateral military cooperation because of its pivotal role in guaranteeing East Timorese sovereignty and national identity.

Neto's Timorese counterpart, Roque Rodrigues, underlined the key role Portugal was playing in organizing and training the country's Defense Force, which celebrated its fourth anniversary Tuesday.

Rodrigues called attention to Lisbon's aid in special defense sectors, like the intelligence service.

With some USD 5.4 million in bilateral defense projects under way, primarily in training programs, Portugal ranks first among Dili's defense partners, according to Timorese figures.

The accord represented a novelty in that it was the first of its kind agreed between the two defense ministries.

In the past, Portuguese military aid had fallen under the supervision of Necessidades Palace, Lisbon's Foreign Ministry.



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