Subject: LUSA: Leaders Criticize Annan's Choice of Future UN Envoy

08 Apr 02 13:24 East Timor: Leaders Criticize Annan's Choice of Future UN Envoy

East Timor´s senior leaders have expressed disappointment over UN Secretary·General Kofi Annan´s choice of India´s UN ambassador, Kamalesh Sharma, as his envoy to Dili following the territory´s May 20 independence.

In comments to Lusa Sunday, several leaders, including presidential candidate Xanana Gusmao and Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri said they would work with Sharma, but would have preferred someone with greater knowledge of East Timor.

Gusmao said his preference to replace UN transition administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian, would have been Ian Martin, the Briton who oversaw the territory´s 1999 independence plebiscite.

Alkatiri, who met with Sharma during the latter´s brief visit to Dili last month, said the Indian diplomat did "not know" East Timor. He said he had expressed his opposition to the appointment directly to Annan on two occasions.

Following the announcement of Sharma´s appointment last week, acting Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta told Lusa that the future UN envoy should be someone capable of "mobilizing" international support for East Timor.

India, he added, was neither an ally nor a potential donor or investor for East Timor.

SAS/ASP -Lusa-

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