Subject: East Timor Needs "Several More Years" Of Foreign Help - UN

East Timor Needs "Several More Years" Of Foreign Help - UN

Friday April 3rd, 2009 / 13h50

DILI, East Timor (AFP)--The impoverished nation of East Timor needs several more years of international assistance to ensure stability and tackle poverty, the head of the United Nations mission in the country said Friday.

Despite recent calm, East Timor's "development needs are still massive, and continued outside assistance is required for several years," Atul Khare said at a meeting of foreign donors, including overseas governments and the World Bank.

Khare urged countries affected by the global economic crisis to continue their assistance to East Timor, and warned that aid would be necessary to keep the country on track well beyond the expiry of the U.N. mission's mandate in 2010.

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao said that building nationwide infrastructure would be necessary to lift the people of East Timor out of poverty, and that effective security and democratic institutions are needed to prevent a return to instability.

"We are committed to closing the chapter of Timor Leste's history where we were seen as a country that is too fragile and in a post-conflict situation," Gusmao said, referring to the country by its official name.

East Timor, which won independence in 2002 after a 24-year occupation by Indonesia, is one of the world's poorest countries with around half of its one million people living on less than $0.88 per day.

The country has been propped up by a U.N. mission backed by hundreds of foreign police and forces since 2006, after chaotic fighting among police, military factions and street gangs killed 37 people and displaced 100,000.

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