Subject: SMH: Subject: Portuguese PM to help put new stamp on old colony

Also: Lusa: First Mail Arrives, Main Post Office to Open April 29

Portuguese PM to help put new stamp on old colony

The Sydney Morning Herald Weekend April 22, 2000

Guterres to help put new stamp on old colony

Agence France-Presse

Lisbon: The Portuguese Prime Minister, Mr Antonio Guterres, is seeking a healing reunion with his country's old colony, East Timor, this weekend.

The Timorese, who were abandoned by Portugal in the 1970s, endured 25 years of suffering under Indonesian occupation until their vote for independence in August, which was followed by militia massacres and destruction.

The former colonial power, which pulled out after restoration of democracy in Lisbon in 1974, was involved in negotiations with Indonesia last year on East Timor's autonomy.

Now the territory is under United Nations administration while it forms a government. The UN-sponsored four-day visit by Mr Guterres starting today would be one of Timorese-Portuguese solidarity, he told Portuguese radio.

Mr Guterres will mark the anniversary of the April 25, 1974, Portuguese revolution that ended colonial rule over the territory by meeting Portuguese UN peacekeepers and NGOs.

Indonesia invaded East Timor and annexed it after Portugal left. The United Nations refused to recognise the annexation and later called for self-determination.

The former possession is therefore a matter of special concern to Portugal. "This is a moment for which I have long waited," Mr Guterres said last week.

The Timorese leader Mr Xanana Gusmao and the Assistant UN Administrator Mr Jean-Christian Cady will welcome Mr Guterres to the capital, Dili.

Mr Gusmao, widely expected to lead an independent East Timor, has said the new government would adopt Portuguese as its official language.

Mr Guterres will participate in a memorial service tomorrow in the small town of Suai, where dozens of people were killed in a church last summer.

Another service on Tuesday will honour victims of the 1991 Dili massacre by Indonesian forces.

Mr Guterres begins his trip in Baucau, where he will have his first meetings with Timorese citizens at a dinner with Bishop Basilio do Nascimento.

The trip coincides with the inauguration of a new main post office, where Mr Guterres, will post the first letter, addressed to Mr Gusmao, using the first stamp of an independent East Timor, in this case a United States 10-cent stamp. The US dollar is to be the country's provisional currency.

Mr Guterres, who will be accompanied by a number of Portuguese ministers and business leaders, will sign several accords in Dili covering agriculture, education, coffee production and horticulture.

He will also visit the enclave of Oecussi, where the first Portuguese explorers arrived in 1515.

--- East Timor: First Mail Arrives, Main Post Office to Open April 29

20 Apr-22:03

Dili, April 20 (Lusa) - The first 500 kilos of mail for East Timor arrived this week in Dili, just over a week before the planned April 29 inauguration of the territory's main post office.

Mail delivery in East Timor is being overseen by the Portuguese postal service. Plans in this first phase of national reconstruction following the Indonesian occupation call for the opening of the main post office in Dili, a branch office in Baucau, the territory's second city, and a handling station at the Dili airport.

The facilities are to be inaugurated by the UN Transition Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

However, the first symbolic moment occurs this weekend during the visit of Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres.

Guterres, who arrives Saturday on a four-day visit, will make the first official delivery of East Timor stamps, which have been printed in Portugal. He will also hand over the first letter to be delivered by the new service - symbolically addressed to East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao.

JBC -Lusa-

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