Subject: EU: Commission to host Donor Conference in Brussels

East Timor: Commission to host Donor Conference in Brussels on 5 - 6 December 2000 DN: IP/00/1399 Date: 2000-12-01

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Brussels, 1 December 2000

East Timor: Commission to host Donor Conference in Brussels on 5 - 6 December 2000

The Third Donors' Meeting on East Timor, hosted by the European Commission, will take place in Brussels on 5-6 December. It brings together delegates from the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), led by the UN Special Representative Mr Sergio Vieira de Mello, the East Timor Transitional Authority (ETTA), the World Bank, led by Vice-President for East Asia and Pacific Jemal-ud-din-Kassum, who will all co-chair the meeting, as well as EU Member States, other important international donors and non governmental organisations. The European Commission will be represented by Commissioners Chris Patten (External Relations) and Poul Nielson (Development and Humanitarian Aid). The purpose of the Brussels Donors' Meeting, which follows Donors' Meetings in Tokyo (December 1999) and Lisbon (June 2000), is to map out a vision for East Timor 's transition to full independence as well as its long-term development objectives. This meeting is of high political significance in that it will consider the political guidelines for the building of the world's youngest nation, prior to its accession to full independence. Furthermore, the conference will address the key issue of creating an economically viable and self-sustainable East Timor. This is not a pledging conference as donor meetings in Tokyo and Lisbon already pledged 523 million USD. Media are invited to view the opening statements. They should go to the press desk lobby in the Charlemagne at 14h on 5 December to obtain the press pass; All non-EU accredited press should pre-register with Rachel Winter Jones, Press Officer at the World Bank Brussels Office on 02-552.00.52 or e-mail: . Media are also invited to the press conference that will take place on 6 December 2000, at 17.30h, in the Charlemagne conference centre, room S4, first floor.

The European Union (EU) has contributed to the transition process of East Timor from the very beginning. After the campaign of violence and destruction - following the UN supervised referendum on 30 August 1999 - the European Commission began providing humanitarian assistance, worth €29 million, through its Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO). The European Commission is also contributing to the rehabilitation of East Timor via financial support to UNTAET (€10 million) and a significant contribution of €19 million to the Trust Fund for East Timor (TFET). This Fund focuses on both the rehabilitation of East Timor and a strategy for its long-term development. Food aid worth €8.5 million is also being provided bringing the total amount of the EC financial contribution to €66.5 million. The European Commission will continue to be a substantial partner to the new independent state beyond the period of transition. Subject to budgetary provision, the European Commission will contribute another €20 million to the TFET in 2001.

The Brussels Donors' Meeting is a unique occasion to discuss both the challenges that a new East Timorese government will have to face and the international donor community's support for the Timorese transition strategy. The first national elections are expected to take place in August 2001. East Timor is today less than one year from the target date of independence.

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