Subject: TLGOV: Oecusse Community receives humanitarian assistance from the Government



Dili, 30 January 2007

Media Release

Oecusse Community receives humanitarian assistance from the Government

On Tuesday, 23 January 2007, Prime Minister Dr. José Ramos-Horta visited the enclave district of Oecusse to view firsthand the development progress in this district, to demonstrate his concern for the difficulties faced by the local community and to deliver 25 tons of food donated by the Ministry of Labor and Community Reinsertion which was transported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as humanitarian assistance to the local population.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Labour and Community Reinsertion, Arsénio Paixão Bano, the Minister of Development, Arcanjo da Silva, Secretary of State for the Environmental, Ordination of the Territory Coordination, João Alves, Secretary of State Resident in Oecusse, Albano Salem, as well as the relevant directors of each ministry.

Upon arrival in Pante Makasar, the Prime Minister and his delegation met with the local community and the local authorities. As part of the visit, the Prime Minister awarded a subsidy to 73 pre-secondary and 76 secondary school students, totalling US$7,480. The Minister of Labour and Community Reinsertion, Arsenio Paixao Bano, noted that this assistance is not a type of scholarship but rather a subsidy for those students who have shown great performance and separate from the government scholarship program called “Caixa Escolar.” The Prime Minister also provided a variety of tools to the carpenters of Lifau village to assist them with the establishment of a small business.

This is the Prime Minister’s third visit to the district but first since he was appointed to the position as part of the 2nd Constitutional Government. He hopes to visit again later this spring to present the ‘Nakroma’ ferry to the people of Oecusse. “We would like to express our gratitude to the German Government for the provision of the ‘Nakroma’ ferry. They have made a significant contribution toward reducing the isolation of Oecusse from the rest of the country which we expect to aid in their ongoing economic and social development,” said the Prime Minister.

As part of his review of the progress in the district, the Prime Minister wanted to see the road linking Batugade and Oecusse. Construction of this road was begun following an agreement between the Prime Minister and President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono with funding provided by the World Bank. “I have requested that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono review the agreement between our two countries concerning this important border area,” the Prime Minister said. “The implementation will greatly benefit the people of both our countries and I hope to see it fully implemented before this government finishes with its term,” added Dr. Ramos-Horta.

The Prime Minister and his delegation also visited the post of the Border Patrol Unit (BPU) at the border area of Oesilo to observe the condition and activities of this police unit.

The Prime Minister’s final message of the day was encouragement of the local population to prepare for and support the upcoming election. “To have a successful election, we need excellent coordination between the leaders of all parties. Each individual also has a duty and responsibility to contribute to and participate in the election process,” said Dr. Ramos-Horta.

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