Subject: Lusa: After 100 days of independence, leaders sum up

30-08-2002 11:46:00 GMT

East Timor: After 100 days of independence, leaders sum up

East Timor was born 100 days ago on Friday and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri says the first moments of the world`s newest nation have been "extremely positive".

"It was not possible to achieve everything in three months", Alkatiri told Lusa, adding that a government report being drawn up on Timor`s first 100 days will show that much of what has been done is significant for what it will allow to happen in future.

Alkatiri stressed that it was not only himself who held these upbeat views on Timor`s early track record and international donor countries had also praised his government`s work.

It was now crucial for the Dili government to speed up the creation of Timor`s legal framework as the country could not function in a legal vacuum, said Alkatiri.

Timor`s president, Xanana Gusmao, told Lusa that May 20 had probably been too early a date for independence and it was too early to know whether Timor`s first thee months had been a success.

"There were errors and there are complaints. State structures are still not perfect, but everyone has to have real patience to tackle these difficulties", Gusmao told Lusa.

"There is a definite apathy. We are independent and we rest in the shade of the flag", said the former resistance leader.

Gusmao said that he still thought the May 20 independence party chosen by the ruling Fretilin party had been too early and had led to the current "difficult" situation where attentions were divided between governing the country and establishing its new legal framework.

Problems and shortcomings had been inherited from the UN administration, Gusmao said, but these had to be identified and overcome by the Timorese themselves, who should refrain from seeking foreign scapegoats.

CJB/ASP -Lusa-

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