Subject: LUSA: Much Still to be Done on Road to Independence - Kofi Annan

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East Timor: Much Still to be Done on Road to Independence - Kofi Annan 7 Mai-21:48

East Timor has made major progress on the road to independence, but much remains to be done, states a note by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan released on Monday.

The text, which refers to GDP growth of 15 percent and a 70 percent increase in agricultural production in 2000, also calls for more to be done "so the new state can survive by its own means".

Annan specifies that most of the growth is centered around the capital, Dili, in the sectors of services, trade and construction, due to programs financed by donor countries.

Another concern is the unresolved fate of East Timorese refugees still in Indonesia more than a year and a half after their homeland voted for independence.

The problem continues, despite the efforts of UNTAET (the UN transition administration in East Timor) to convince the refugees that it is safe to return from Indonesian West Timor, Annan states.

He also refers to the situation of security, among others, saying that there have been no problems in recent months, but warning that East Timorese are fearful that the political transition process may not continue peacefully.

Annan thus recommends that the current UN peacekeeping force be maintained at current strength until an East Timorese government is established.

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