Subject: LUSA: Lisbon pledges USD 9 million to support budget deficit

30-05-2003 11:37:00. Notícia nº SIR-5079902 Temas: new destaque1 East Timor: Lisbon pledges USD 9 million to support budget deficit

Dili, May 30 (Lusa) - Portugal and East Timor signed an accord Friday that commits Lisbon to supporting Dili's state budget to the tune of USD 9 million during the coming year.

The agreement, which states the aid funds will be released in three equal installments, was signatured in the Timorese capital by Portugal's Dili ambassador, Rui Quartin Santos, and Timor`s finance minister, Madalena Boavida.

After the signing, Ambassador Santos described the accord as "the fulfillment of a commitment made by Portugal at the May 2002 international donor conference to fund about 10 percent of the estimated budget deficit".

"I want to reaffirm Portugal`s strong pledge to carry out commitments taken on. It is a relation of strong friendship based on history, language and a common past, which we hope can continue in the future", said Santos.

Boavida told Lusa the agreement was "another sign of strengthening cooperation between Portugal and Timor in various areas, particularly education and the creation of a defense force".

A major international donor conference takes place in Dili next week to discuss Timor`s 2003-2004 state spending needs, estimated at USD 79 million. Official estimates are that USD 28 million is needed in foreign aid pledges, with USD 21 million already committed.

ASP/CJB -Lusa-

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