Subject: LUSA: A quarter of returning exiles go back to Portugal

05 Jun 02 10:17 East Timor: A quarter of returning exiles go back to Portugal

About a quarter of East Timorese exiles in Portugal who return to their native shores decide to come back to the European country after seeing conditions in Timor, a Portuguese NGO has revealed

Arnauld de la Tour, who runs the international programs of the Portuguese NGO, Inter-cooperation and development (INDE) told Lusa Tuesday that 40 Timorese living in Portugal were currently being prepared for resettlement in Timor.

De la tour said that some of this group already had experience of building work in Portugal and would stand a good chance of continuing this line of employment on their return home.

"Some of them, about 25 percent, went to see the country and if the new situation fitted in with their expectations. They came back to Portugal", said de la Tour.

INDE has already financed 80 passages from the Portugal to Timor under the "Return to Timor to Participate" project. The scheme is co-funded by the European Fund for Refugees and coordinated by the Portuguese ministry of social security and labor.

The number of Timorese exiles in Portugal peaked at about 5,000 during the Indonesian occupation. Currently, there are just over 1,000 Timorese in Portugal.

CJB -Lusa-

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