|Subject: RT: Timor donors, leaders meet to
Also: AP: East Timor officials meet Portuguese officials ahead of donors' conference
PORTUGAL: UPDATE 1- Timor donors, leaders meet to plan rebuilding.
By Martin Roberts
LISBON, June 21 (Reuters) - International donors began meeting with East Timor's leadership and the United Nations on Wednesday to review humanitarian efforts and plan how to reconstruct the devastated Asian territory.
The Lisbon meeting set to end on Friday was the first by donors since they pledged $520 million in aid to East Timor at a conference in Tokyo last December.
World Bank country director for East Timor Klaus Rohland said humanitarian efforts had been successful and it was time to look ahead to preparing Timor for full independence.
"The main difficulty is building a country from scratch," Rohland told journalists. "The reconstruction programmes are set out and designed. The challenge over the next six months is to implement them."
The United Nations took over administration of East Timor after the territory voted overwhelmingly for independence in August last year after 24 years of Indonesian rule.
Rohland said the territory was now secure and free from the factional strife present in other regions occupied by U.N. peacekeepers around the world, so humanitarian work had been relatively swift and effective.
But East Timor still needed to recover from a campaign of violence by pro-Jakarta militias after the independence vote that left hundreds dead and much of the former Portuguese colony in ruins.
Rohland estimated that East Timor's average production of goods and services per person was cut by about half from $380 after the September violence.
He said one of the tasks facing East Timor was how to build up government institutions, an issue to be discussed with Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao and chief U.N. administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello.
Rohland and Gusmao both hoped for a pledge of confidence from donors in the fledgling Timorese government.
"We need this motion of confidence because it allows us to freely see through this reconstruction programme and transition period and allows us to think of moving to independence," Gusmao told a news conference.
Donors would not be asked for more pledges, Rohland added, although East Timor would need more funds in six months time, because the World Bank had underestimated how many schools were in ruins and to fix roads damaged by heavy military vehicles.
Reconstruction efforts so far had focused on agriculture, education and supporting sustainable business by small and medium-sized firms to help make East Timor economically viable.
"Obviously East Timor will need support from the international community for some years to come. But it can be viable, as many other small, poor Asian-Pacific countries are," Rohland said.
--- East Timor officials meet Portuguese officials ahead of donors' conference
LISBON, Portugal (AP) - East Timor has moved beyond the stage of only needing humanitarian assistance and is now ready to implement reconstruction programs, a World Bank official said Wednesday.
East Timor 's independence leader Jose Alexandre Gusmao and Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. administrator for the half-island nation, were holding separate talks Wednesday with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres and Foreign Minister Jaime Gama as an East Timor donors' conference chaired by the World Bank got under way.
Gusmao urged international donors to voice support for the East Timorese leadership, who share the task of rebuilding their homeland with the local U.N. mission during East Timor 's transition to self-rule.
"A vote of confidence will be extremely important for us to believe that we're up to it, for us to think about the responsibility we have towards the international community," Gusmao said after talks with Gama.
At a December meeting in Tokyo, international donors pledged more than dlrs 520 million to help rebuild East Timor. They are holding a second conference from Wednesday to Friday in Lisbon, where World Bank officials will brief them on the financial body's activities in East Timor since the Tokyo conference and report on their goals for the next six months.
The Lisbon meeting marks a turning point from providing humanitarian assistance for East Timor to implementing reconstruction programs in key sectors such as education, health and agriculture, Klaus Rohland, the World Bank's director for East Timor, said Wednesday in Lisbon.
The World Bank will be urging donors to express their support for the reconstruction program and for the East Timorese leadership, and also to renew the World Bank's mandate for East Timor, he added.
"We won't go back to donors for more money," Rohland said, adding that an appeal for more resources would be launched at the next donors' conference in January 2001.
East Timor was heavily destroyed in September by anti-independence militias who rejected a U.N.-sponsored referendum in which an overwhelming number of East Timorese chose to break free from Indonesia's rule.
The United Nations has set up a transitional administration in the Southeast Asian nation to prepare the East Timorese for self-rule.
The Portuguese foreign minister praised Gusmao and the East Timorese people for their cooperation with the U.N. administration, for promoting security in the territory and for their efforts to improve relations with Indonesia.
Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975, after Portugal hastily pulled out its 400-year-old colonial administration.
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