Subject: Bernama: Timor Leste at NAM

Castro and Gusmao Arrive To Attend NAM Summit Bernama

23 Feb 03

SEPANG, Feb 23 (Bernama) - Cuban President Fidel Alejandro Castro arrived at KL International Airport here this evening to attend the 13th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit, which continues with the Leaders' meeting tomorrow. Information Minister Tan Sri Khalil Yaakob met him. Cuba, which hosted the 1979 NAM Summit, will host it again in 2006. Timor Leste President Xanana Gusmao also arrived at KLIA this evening. Agriculture Minister Datuk Dr Effendi Norwawi welcomed him. Timor Leste is one of the two countries to be formally endorsed as NAM member tomorrow. The other is St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an island nation in the Caribbean. Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade and Qatar's Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Khalefa were among leaders who flew in Sunday.

Timor Leste Seeks Help In Nation-building


23 Feb 03

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 (Bernama) -- Timor Leste hopes to benefit under Malaysia's three-year tenure as chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), particularly in the education and training of Timorese, its Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said Sunday.

He said his country would look into the possibility of diversified bilateral arrangements. "We lack human resources and qualified people in every sector. So the absolute priority of our government is education because education is part and parcel of the whole development philosophy and strategy,"

Horta told reporters at the 13th NAM Summit here. Horta said Timorese students would study in Portugal, Indonesia, the United States and Australia but only a handful in Malaysia.

"Malaysia has an outstanding education system and we would like to see an increase in the number of students coming here," he said. "We are devoting 30 to 40 percent of our national budget to education, public health and agriculture," said the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize Winner.

He said his country, which would officially join NAM tomorrow, was grateful to Malaysia for its South-South spirit of solidarity. Timor Leste had received substantial support in the training of Timorese in various fields, including the administration and law enforcement sectors.

Horta disclosed that Malaysia had offered to foot the bill for about 30 Cuban doctors working in Timor Leste.

"In a short time, we have developed very strong ties with Malaysia and Indonesia. We have also held discussions with Malaysia's oil company, Petronas, to look into expanding its operations in the Timor Sea and providing training for our people, " he said.

"We would like to see other developing countries look at the possibilities of investments in Timor Leste," he said, adding that it would not be easy to attract investors due to perceptions that it was still an unstable country, although this was not the case.

"Our workers' salary is very high compared with Indonesia or Vietnam, which is about US$5 a day while in Indonesia workers get about US$1 or US$2," he said. Horta said Timor Leste's relationship with Indonesia was excellent. Both countries had established diplomatic relations, upgrading their missions to embassies.

"We have established a joint commission at the ministerial-level in multi-sectors. We are working on a wide range of issues," he said "In the next few months we'll begin negotiations on maritime boundaries with Indonesia and Australia."

Horta said Timor Leste would also like an increase in Indonesian participation in his country especially in trade and in the United Nations- related work. "There are so many nationalities working for the UN in Timor Leste. Why not Indonesians -- doctors or economists, agricultural experts? It is in a spirit of real goodwill that we are working with Indonesia," he said.

Timor Leste Has Faith In KL Leadership Of NAM Bernama

23 Feb 03

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 (Bernama) -- Timor Leste, which will join the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) tomorrow along with Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, is confident that Malaysia can lead the movement even after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad leaves office in October.

Its Foreign Minister, Dr Jose Ramos Horta, said Sunday that Dr Mahathir's departure would not affect the movement as he would be able to continue leading it together with the new prime minister and the rest of the leadership in Malaysia.

"When he steps down, Dr Mahathir may not have to deal with the day-to-day management of the country, thus he would be able to devote more time to NAM," he told a media conference at the Timor Leste embassy here.

Dr Horta said that NAM, particularly during Malaysia's chairmanship, could be very successful and important for the developing world.

"Dr Mahathir has renowned credibility and is respected by everyone in the Third World. Although some of the rich countries may not be great fans of the prime minister, they still respect him.

"Even those who are sometimes annoyed by the way Dr Mahathir speaks and exposes them could not argue about Malaysia's success," Dr Horta said. He said Malaysia, being a Muslim country, could well lead NAM in the dialogue of religions and civilizations.

Although the usefulness and relevance of NAM were questioned after the end of the Cold War, most of its members believed that NAM still had a role to play in mobilizing a united force and pushing for a new agenda, he said.

"To band together as a team may not be difficult for the NAM leaders as they understand the rules of international relations," he said.

He said that many Third World countries had called for the eradication of poverty, increasing development assistance and opening up the markets of the rich, which could be vital in fending off the swelling of extremists.

"The membership of the extremists increases because they don't have any other point of view to listen to as they are not educated, not informed and thus they become easily manipulated," he added.

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