Subject: LUSA: UN 'bureacracy' delayed Portuguese anti-riot aid - Martins da Cruz

04-12-2002 17:03:00. Notícia nº 4412229

East Timor: UN 'bureacracy' delayed Portuguese anti-riot aid - Martins da Cruz

Lisbon, Dec. 4 (Lusa) - Portuguese Foreign Minister António Martins da Cruz blamed UN "bureaucracy" Wednesday for having kept Lisbon from sending a 20-member team of anti-riot experts to Dili to train East Timorese police.

Martins da Cruz said he had instructed Lisbon's ambassador to the United Nations, Gonçalo Santa Clara Gomes, to contact Secretary- General Kofi Annan to try cutting red tape.

"We+ve had a 20-man team of Republican National Guards ready for weeks to go train the Timorese police in anti-riot tactics", he said, reacting to news of mob rampages in Dili earlier Wednesday.

"I hope the voice of reason will be heard and that finally it will be understood that Portugal has some knowledge of the situation in East Timor and that our offer of help was not gratuitous", as considered by some "bureaucratic" UN officials, Martins da Cruz said.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the Portuguese cabinet in Lisbon, the foreign minister said the Portuguese government was following developments in East Timor "moment by moment".

He illustrated Lisbon's concern with East Timor, a former Portuguese territory, by noting that a Portuguese minister and two state secretaries were on visits to Dili when the violence erupted.

Las/SAS -Lusa-

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