Subject: DPA: Ramos-Horta appeals to world for speedy assistance

Deutsche Presse-Agentur March 21, 2000

East Timorese Nobel laureate appeals to world for speedy assistance Geneva

East Timorese Nobel peace prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta Tuesday appealed to the world community to honour pledges for financial assistance to the former Portuguese colony swiftly.

At a meeting of doners, organised by the World Bank last December, 520 million dollars had been pledged, but so far only a few millions had arrived, he said.

"To maintain peace and stability in the absence of employment is extremely difficult," Ramos-Horta said.

The Geneva-based International Labour Organisation (ILO) meanwhile announced a 22.7-million-dollar reconstruction programme for East Timor. Under the programme, new jobs are to be created in the construction sector to help rebuild the infrastructure.

The ILO also plans to hold seminars for people wanting to set up their own businesses. The programme also provides funds for small loans and for the reconstruction of schools.

Up to 80 per cent of private and public buildings were damaged during a campaign of violence waged by Jakarta-backed militia forces opposed to independence in the territory last year.

East Timor, with a population of about 800,000, was a Portuguese colony until 1975. Indonesia took over in 1976 and last year severed its ties when East Timorese chose independence in a referendum.

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