Subject: Lusa: PM unveils plans for revamped gov't to spearhead regional dev'pment

East Timor: PM unveils plans for revamped gov't to spearhead regional dev'pment

Dili, May 18 (Lusa) - The government of East Timor will undergo a major shakeup in July as part of the Dili executive's efforts to decentralize power in the new nation, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said Wednesday.

In comments to Lusa, Alaktiri said he has been working on the government restructuring since February and the main innovations will be the creation of a state secretary for each of Timor's five administrative regions.

These government officials, who could be known as regional governors, will be charged with coordinating provincial development, particularly the investment programs to be implemented in the regions, said Alkatiri.

Dili's head of government said the new and enlarged executive would take office July 1, with some ministries being split into two.

Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta said the government rejig would be accompanied by the first rotation of Timor's overseas diplomatic corps.

Two new embassies in Thailand and Japan will open to supplement Timor's existing diplomatic missions in Indonesia, Portugal, China, Australia, Mozambique, Malaysia, the UN, the United States and the EU, Ramos Horta told Lusa.

Separately, Timor's prime minister has reiterated that contrary to Australian media reports, Dili and Canberra reached no accord last week on the carving up of hydrocarbon revenues from the Timor Sea,.

"I don't understand why the Australian media keep saying that there is an agreement, when from my point of view there is no such agreement. The two countries are close to a deal, but to say it already exists is not true." Some media in Australia reported that Dili had agreed to put off negotiations on maritime borders in exchange for USD 5 billion oil revenues over the next 30 to 40 years.



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