Subject: Lusa: Portuguese Troop Reinforcements Should be Engineers, says Gusmao

East Timor: Portuguese Troop Reinforcements Should be Engineers, says Gusmao 31 Oct-13:05

Portuguese troop reinforcements for East Timor should be engineers, given the bad state of the territory's roads, East Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao said after meeting with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres.

The question of reinforcing the Portuguese troops stationed in East Timor was the main topic of discussion during the Monday meeting in Lisbon, which was also attended by Jose Ramos Horta, East Timor's top diplomat. Gusmao later said an engineering company was needed but stressed that this was "just an opinion."

Portugal has already decided to reinforce its troops in East Timor. The Monday encounter thus focused on the type of forces to be sent to the territory, where a Portuguese contingent serves with the UN peacekeeping force.

Gusmao recalled that in East Timor it would soon be the rainy season, during which the main road was normally cut in the central sector controlled by the Portuguese peacekeepers.

Xanana Gusmao is president of both the East Timor National Council (legislature) and the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT - the territory's umbrella leadership group). He arrived in Portugal on Saturday. On Tuesday he will join Ramos Horta and Dili Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo in receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Oporto in northern Portugal.

Gusmao leaves Portugal on Wednesday, bound for South Korea.

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