Subject: AFP: ETimor capital dirtiest in world, says president

ETimor capital dirtiest in world, says president

DILI (AFP) - East Timor's President Jose Ramos-Horta on Monday labelled his capital the dirtiest city in the world as he exhorted residents to work hard to clean it up.

"Dili is presently the dirtiest city in the world. I have never seen a city in this world which is dirtier than this city of ours," said Ramos-Horta, a well-travelled former diplomat.

He cited as an example the long stretches of scenic beaches of the coastal capital, where he blasted seaside restaurant owners for failing to keep clean the sands that are the very source of their revenue.

"If we go to the beach, a lot of Timorese just throw their garbage and other goods into the sea," he told reporters.

"Therefore I call on all residents to at least maintain cleanliness in their respective neighbourhoods, at home, and not just wait for the government" to do it, he said.

Ramos-Horta also blamed the previous government for dirty conditions in the capital. The current government -- East Timor's second elected administration under independence -- came to power earlier this year.

"This is the responsibility of the first government... The state and the government did not allocate appropriate funding for sanitation," he said.

The old government awarded cleaning contracts to various incompetent companies, he claimed, and called on the present government of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao to review them.

Speaking as foreign minister last year, Ramos-Horta said that stray pigs often seen roaming Dili's beaches were a disgrace to the country.

East Timor became the world's youngest nation in 2002 and is one of Asia's poorest countries.


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