Subject: Dili's first ambassador abroad presents her credentials in Lisbon

Also: Interview with ET Ambassador Pacoela Barreto

05-07-2002 14:05:00. Notícia nº 3860620 Temas:

East Timor: Dili's first ambassador abroad presents her credentials in Lisbon

Newly independent East Timor's first ambassador abroad, Pascoela Barreto, presented her diplomatic credentials to Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio in Lisbon Friday.

After the ceremony at Tagus riverside Belem Palace, Ambassador Barreto, 55, a sociologist by training, said her top priorities were to care for the 2,000-strong Timorese community in Portugal and to deepen relations between her Asian nation and its colonial ruler over more than four centuries.

Speaking to reporters, she offered a "big embrace" to the people of Portugal for their support in East Timor's quarter-century struggle from Indonesian occupation, which ended with independence May 20.

Barreto first came to Lisbon in 1970 to attend university.

After earning her degree in sociology, she worked for many years in Portugal's highways department before assuming the role of Lisbon representative of the National Council of Timorese Resistance, the umbrella nationalist organization, in 1998.

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UNIC Lisbon ­ Press Review

2 July 2002

East Timor

Diário de Notícias carries an interview with the future Ambassador of East Timor in Portugal, Pascoela Barreto, headlined “First Embassy of East Timor is in Portugal.” Ms. Barreto will present her credentials to the President of Portugal on 5 July. Another first, she adds, is the first official visit of President Xanana Gusmão, that will be to Indonesia and during which the question of establishing an embassy will also be discussed. Asked about other countries where diplomatic representations will be established she mentioned Australia, Malaysia, US and permanent missions to the European Union and to the United Nations, to be headed by José Luís Guterres.

Commenting on what East Timor needs most from Portugal, she mentioned aid as regards education and investments.

“We need that Portuguese companies invest in East Timor, it is necessary to create in the next few years a strong economy.”

She adds that there are already a lot of Portuguese companies investing in East Timor, citing Portugal Telecom, which is going to make the biggest investment ever, adding that “we need it, communication is bad.”

Asked if the communication problem East Timor was facing was related to the “departure” of the UN, she answered “yes, many services became fragile with the departure of the UN and its staff and with the fact that they removed a lot of equipment.”

Even at the government level many of the administrative aspects were paralysed, she said. Although criticising the UN for “removing equipment”, she said “we cannot complain because they did the most important, which was to create the minimum conditions of stability and security”. Still referring to the UN, she noted that much had been said about “capacity-building” but the results “are not very visible”.

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