Subject: European Union concerned over East Timor unrest: Barroso

European Union concerned over East Timor unrest: Barroso

LISBON, May 13 (AFP) -- The European Union is concerned about last month's deadly protests by disgruntled soldiers in East Timor and hopes the fledgling democracy will find peaceful solutions to its problems, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Saturday.

"We are watching with concern events in East Timor and we hope that things can be resolved because that country has already suffered a lot," he told Portuguese reporters on the sidelines of the EU-Latin America summit in Vienna.

"It is the responsibility of the East Timorese people to find ways, within a democratic framework, to resolve the problems which have recently manifest themselves," the former Portuguese prime minister added in comments broadcast on news radio TSF.

East Timor's capital Dili was rocked by a riot on April 28 in which at least five people were killed and more than 100 buildings destroyed or damaged in the worst violence to hit the country since the independence referendum.

The trouble began with a rally in support of nearly 600 soldiers from the west of the former Portuguese colony who were sacked when they deserted their barracks complaining of ethnic discrimination at the hands of easterners.

East Timor was a Portuguese colony until Indonesia invaded the territory in 1975, ushering in 24 years of brutal occupation by Jakarta during which human rights groups estimate 100,000-250,000 people were killed.

Indonesia's occupation ended in 1999 when the people of East Timor overwhelmingly voted in favour of independence in a referendum supervised by the United Nations.

--------- Joyo Indonesia News Service 

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