Subject: Lusa: Portuguese Minister Highlights ´Positive´ Visit

Also: Portuguese Minister Pledges Bishop Belo Continued Aid and Lisbon Ready to Aid Creation of Police Forces

Lusa East Timor: Portuguese Minister Highlights ´Positive´ Visit to Territory 21 Dez-20:35

At the close of a three-day visit to East Timor, Portuguese Interior Minister Nuno Severiano Teixeira said the trip had been "very positive" and highlighted the decision to have Portugal`s National Republican Guard (GNR) train members of the territorial police`s future rapid response force.

The 120 GNR troops currently stationed in Dili serve as a rapid response force in cases high risk or disturbance situations. East Timorese authorities had a similar force in mind when they asked Severiano Teixeira for support.

The Lisbon minister said he had "immediately manifested the willingness" of his government. The GNR contingent confirmed the availability of technical means, although the training will be carried out under the auspices of the territory`s civil police, a point likewise approved by East Timor`s chief UN transition administrator, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

The training program is likely to result in the stationing of more GNR soldiers in East Timor, Severiano Teixeira said. Portugal`s Public Safety Police (PSP), which already run the police academy in Dili, will also begin training East Timorese police personnel in Portugal.

During his stay in East Timor, Severiano Teixeira met with Portuguese personnel stationed there, as well as with UN authorities, East Timorese leaders and the Catholic bishop of Dili, Carlos Ximenes Belo.

JBC -Lusa

East Timor: Portuguese Minister Pledges Bishop Belo Continued Aid 21 Dez-12:52

Portugal´s minister for internal administration, Nuno Severiano Teixeira, reaffirmed Lisbon´s support for East Timor´s transition to independence Thursday in talks with the territory´s spiritual leader, Catholic Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, in Dili.

Severiano Teixeira, who is on a two-day visit to Portugal´s former Asian territory, also underlined the pivotal role played by the Catholic church in East Timor and Bishop Belo´s "moral authority".

Belo, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, thanked his visitor for Lisbon´s aid in the independence transition process but underlined that East Timor would need "more help in every aspect". Belo reiterated his belief that formal independence was "possible" some time next year, while urging the UN transition administration and Timorese political parties "to prepare well" for full sovereignty.

SAS -Lusa-

East Timor: Lisbon Ready to Aid Creation of Police Forces - Interior Minister 20 Dez-12:32

Portugal´s minister for internal administration, Nuno Severiano Teixeira, began a two-day visit to East Timor Wednesday, promising Lisbon´s aid in preparing future security forces for the territory. In a meeting with Xanana Gusmao, Severiano Teixeira told the Timorese leader that Portugal was ready "to cooperate in whatever is considered important" for the creation of police forces. Gusmao expressed his thanks for "the affection and solidarity" shown by the Portuguese for the people of East Timor.

The minister, who later took part in a ceremony honoring a battalion of Portuguese Republican National Guards serving with the UN police force, said his visit aimed primarily at showing Christmas season "solidarity" with Portuguese units in East Timor.

The territory´s UN administrator, Sergio Vieira de Mello, who made a surpise appearance at the ceremony underlined Portugal´s "valuable contribution" in East Timor´s transition to independence.

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