Subject: Gusmao pleased with 'fantastic' Lisbon-revived Governor's Palace


East Timor: Gusmao pleased with 'fantastic' Lisbon-revived Governor's Palace

Dili, May 23 (Lusa) - Portuguese authorities have formally handed over Dili's rehabilitated colonial Governor's Palace, an Indonesia-gutted 19th century mansion, to East Timorese President Xanana Gusm? for his use as an official residence.

"It's magnificent", "fantastic architecture", Gusmao said Saturday after formally visiting the suburban mansion in the company of cabinet ministers, legislators, foreign diplomats and members of the resident Portuguese community.

"It was important receiving this support" from Lisbon, the president added, underlining that the mansion that once housed colonial Portuguese governors was part of a shared "cultural patrimony".

The recuperation of the Governor's Palace, which was completely vandalized and gutted by fire in 1999 by withdrawing pro-Indonesian forces, is being financed to the tune of euros 2.3 million by Lisbon City Hall under an accord signed in 2002.

The ceremony Saturday, with the presence of Lisbon City Council members, capped the program's first phase. The second phase involves the construction from scratch of two-underground floors for the palace, located in Lahane outside Dili.

Lisbon City Hall has maintained a permanent liaison office in Dili since 2002 to oversee city-to-city cooperation programs that have also included the restoration of two historic schools integrated in the Timorese capital's university complex.

EL/SAS.

Lusa

 


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