Subject: EU reaches out to Timor

EU reaches out to Timor


November 24, 2007 at 9:03 AM EST

DILI ­ The European Union will give impoverished East Timor about $100-million in rural development aid next year, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Saturday after meeting Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

The EU executive chief signed an agreement to provide €15-million for rural development and told a news conference that a further $100-million would be given in 2008.

"This is our commitment to fight against the poverty," he said.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was occupied by Indonesia in 1975, and became independent in 2002.

The European Commission will establish a permanent representative in East Timor to promote closer relations, Mr. Barroso said. During his two-day trip to East Timor, he will visit the parliament and also meet opposition leader Mari Alkatiri.

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