Subject: Portuguese Magnate To Purchase Stake in E.Timor Coffee

also: East Timor Leader Calls For International Assistance

Associated Press February 8, 2000

Portuguese Magnate To Purchase East Timor Coffee

LISBON, Portugal (AP)--Portugal's top coffee producer is buying a stake in coffee grown in East Timor, where U.S. companies have so far been the main purchasers.

The Cafes Delta coffee company will buy 4,000 tons of the coffee.

Rui Nabeiro, the founder of Cafes Delta, said Tuesday he was planning to travel to the former Portuguese colony soon to meet with East Timorese officials and examine the coffee, which amounts to about half last year's harvest, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported.

The coffee was stored last year in the district of Ermera after East Timorese officials halted a sale to New York-based National Cooperative Business Association following a dispute over prices, Lusa said.

Nabeiro gave no details on how much money was involved saying it would depend on the quality of the coffee, Lusa reported.

Cafes Delta exports coffee to Australia, Africa, Canada, Europe and the United States. No figures were immediately available on the company's output last year.

Coffee is one of East Timor's few cash exports and its organic beans are said to be prized by international coffee merchants.

World Bank officials recently said coffee production in East Timor was good last year given that the harvest had not been affected by the violence that erupted when the territory voted to break away from Indonesia.

During Jakarta's 24-year-rule, which began after Portugal abandoned the territory in 1974, East Timor exported $20 million annually in coffee beans.


Associated Press February 8, 2000

East Timor Leader Calls For International Assistance

KUALA LUMPUR (AP)--East Timorese leader Jose Alexandre Gusmao on Tuesday made a strong plea for international assistance to his new emerging nation, which he said was in a "period of emergency."

Gusmao, who along with compatriot and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta, is on a tour of Asian nations, said East Timor not only needed material help but also support to form political and social institutions and its government.

"We are now in a period of emergency in which we lack everything - houses, food, healthcare," Gusmao told a public meeting organized in his honor by several pro-East Timor groups in a downtown Kuala Lumpur hotel.

The World Bank has estimated that rebuilding East Timor and its shattered economy will likely cost up to $300 million over the next three years.

"We have to rebuild every school and equip it, we have to rebuild every hospital and equip it," Gusmao said in a speech.

"But we know that with the same courage and determination and with the same injection of solidarity, love and help from other countries in the world, we will win again," he said to a thunderous applause.

Gusmao and Ramos-Horta have asked Malaysia to provide a "tremendous" amount of aid, but Kuala Lumpur said it could only offer its neighbor limited assistance.

The two met with Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar on Tuesday.

Syed Hamid asked for an itemized list of their needs so Malaysia could calculate the cost of helping its neighbor.

"We will only be able to accommodate some of what they want because we also have our own constraints," he told reporters. "They have mentioned all the things they need and we know their requirements are quite tremendous."

Gusmao and Ramos-Horta are on the last stop of a six-nation tour to open diplomatic relations and raise funds after winning independence from Indonesia last year. The territory is still under watch by a U.N. transitional team.

Syed Hamid said that the two leaders asked Malaysia to provide technical, managerial and diplomatic training. They also asked for doctors and scholarships for East Timorese students to study in Malaysia, he said.

Gusmao, in his speech, said East Timor would strive to promote democracy, pluralism and human rights along with material growth.

"Development is a hollow concept in the absence of democracy and freedom," he said.


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