Subject: LUSA: Dili Minister Calls for Postponement of August Elections

East Timor: Dili Minister Calls for Postponement of August Elections 27 Abr-13:31

East Timor's infrastructure minister, Joao Carrascalao, called Friday for the postponement of the territory's August constitutent [sic] assembly elections, saying the Timorese needed more time to ease political and social tensions.

Speaking at a seminar in Portugal, Carrascalao said that his people's mounting "frustrations" over the slow pace of UN-led reconstruction was so inflammable that "the smallest spark could set off a fire".

Declining to specify an alternative date for the slated Aug. 30 balloting, Carrascalao pointed to recent acts of mob violence in East Timor as strong reasons for postponing the vote.

He noted that the territory had been "literally destroyed" by anti-independence Indonesian violence in 1999 and that it would take "many years" before East Timor could "take care of its destiny alone".

He urged former colonial ruler Portugal to maintain and strengthen its aid programs, calling special attention to the need for investment in the promotion and teaching of the Portuguese language, which Dili has chosen as an official language.

SAS -Lusa-

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