|Subject: LUSA: Alkatiri and Gusmao in
Portugal on Separate Visits
22 Oct 01 19:49 East Timor: Alkatiri and Gusmao in Portugal on Separate Visits
Leading a transition government delegation, East Timor´s chief minister, Mari Alkatiri, arrived in Lisbon Monday for a week of cooperation talks with Portuguese leaders.
Alkatiri, who will remain in Lisbon for eight days before heading to New York for discussions on East Timor´s independence with the UN Security Council, will hold talks with President Jorge Sampaio, Parliament Speaker Antonio Almeida Santos and Prime Minister Antonio Guterres.
During his first official visit to East Timor´s former colonial ruler since taking office last month after the territory´s first elections, Alkatiri will also discuss Portuguese aid and cooperation programs with many cabinet members, including the ministers of foreign affairs, defense and finance.
In Lisbon, Alkatiri joins Xanana Gusmao, the territory´s independence leader, who arrived Sunday for a five-day private visit.
In a brief arrival statement Sunday, Gusmao said Portugal had a "special role" to play in the building of an independent East Timor.
He declined to elaborate, however, saying that Chief Minister Alkatiri was also coming to Lisbon and was in "a better position to talk about this".
Later on Monday, Gusmao said that the transition process in the emerging nation was "going well", adding there was "peaceful and calm".
Gusmao, who is widely expected to become the first president of East Timor next year, was speaking at the Foreign Ministry in Lisbon, where he paid a "courtesy visit" to greet " a great friend of East Timor", Portugal`s head of diplomacy, Jaime Gama.
Gusmao was accompanied by his wife and youngest child, as well as the head of the Commission for Support to Transition in East Timor, Father Vitor Melicias.
The ex-resistance leader will travel to the northern city of Oporto for Wednesday`s inaugural conference of the International Institute for Asian Studies and Interchange, on the theme: "The Constitution of the Democratic State of East Timor".
The Associated Press October 23, 2001
LISBON, Portugal (AP)--East Timor's chief minister-elect Tuesday won pledges of public and private investment from Portugal for his fledgling nation.
In his first foreign trip, Mari Alkatiri met with Portuguese Foreign Minister Jaime Gama who said Portugal would provide 5.17 billion escudos ($1=PTE224.8) in bilateral aid next year, mostly for education programs.
Portugal is sending other aid through international programs organized by the United Nations. This year, it is providing a total of about PTE20 billion.
Alkatiri also met with 20 leading Portuguese businessmen who are interested in developing tourism, farming, forestry and energy supplies in East Timor.
About 50 Portuguese companies are already operating there.
East Timor was occupied by Indonesia in 1975 after almost 400 years of colonization by Portugal. Two years ago it voted overwhelmingly for independence in a U.N.-sponsored referendum.
East Timor is currently being administered by the U.N. Alkatiri, the leader of East Timor's largest political party, heads a recently-elected cabinet that will lead the territory to independence next year.
4 Oct 01 21:46
East Timor: Gusmao Apologizes for Delay in Accounts Delivery
East Timor's ex-resistance leader apologized Wednesday for delay in delivering the financial accounts relating to Portugal`s contributions to the National Commission of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), an umbrella political organization formed in 1998 and disbanded in May 2001.
Xanana Gusmao expressed his "enormous sense of guilt" over the delay in delivering the accounts by the September 2001 deadline, and thanked the Portuguese state for its "support", "kindness" and "attention". He added that various difficulties had caused the delay and admitted there had been errors in management and coordination between members of the CNRT.
"I am not suggesting the existence of corruption", Gusmao stated, at the opening of the inaugural conference of an institute for Asian studies and interchange in the northern city of Oporto.
Gusmao, who is widely expected to become Timor`s first president on independence next year, used the occassion to downplay hints of controversy over comments he made about legislative elections being held on the same day as presidential ones.
"I never try to make declarations which affect the campaign or work of the legislative assembly", he stated, adding that "differences in opinion were part of the democratic process and the expression of divergent views was not a sign of any rifts in civil society".
On the subject of the date chosen for independence, May 20, 2002, Gusmao, speaking as a "simple citizen of Timor", said, "I accept it but I personally don`t agree"
Gusmao is currently on a private visit to Portugal, during which he is holding informal meetings with heads os state and government, ministers and various dignitaries
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