Subject: XG: President received U.S. ambassador

PRESIDÊNCIA DA REPÚBLICA GABINETE DO PRESIDENTE

PRESS RELEASE

Contact Name: Elizabeth Exposto Mobile: +61 418 825 324

Email: presidente-tl@easttimor.minihub.org

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) Monday, 09 December 2002

H.E. PRESIDENT KAY RALA XANANA GUSMÃO RECEIVES THE NEW US AMBASSADOR

H.E. President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão this morning in Dili at 09.30 received the credentials of the new Ambassador of the United States to Timor-Leste, H.E. Mr. Grover Joseph Rees III.

Ambassador Rees was formerly the legislative aid to Congressman Chris Smith (R) and was active on Timor-Leste for many years. In 1998, four days after the fall of President Suharto, Ambassador Rees visited President Xanana Gusmão in prison in Cipinang, Jakarta as part of Congressman Smith’s delegation. Ambassador Rees again visited President Gusmão when the latter was transferred to house arrest in Salemba in 1999.

Last October, H.E. the President met again with Ambassador Rees while in Washington D.C. in a meeting together with several other prominent Congress people, including Nancy Pelosi and Patrick Kennedy, who were for many years, very active in Congress, pushing for change in US policy on Timor-Leste.

Before coming to Timor-Leste to assume his new post, Ambassador Rees served as Counsel on the House International Relations Committee. From 1995-2001, he was the Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights. Ambassador Rees graduated from Yale University and has a law degree from Louisiana State University School of Law and speaks Spanish, French and Samoan.

Since September 1999, the United States Government, through its aid agency USAID, has been a consistent donor to Timor-Leste, focussing its aid in strengthening civil society and democratic institutions. USAID has been particularly strong in fostering freedom of press through its assistance to local media. USAID also funded the printing and distribution of the results of the Civil Society countrywide consultation, spearheaded by President Xanana Gusmão in May 2002, in which the aspirations and visions of the East Timorese people were expressed in the book "East Timor 2020: Our Nation, Our Future", and distributed in Tetum to every family across the country.

“I have known Ambassador Rees for some years and am most happy to have received him today. In fact, when I was last in Washington D.C., I told President Bush of how pleased we were that the United States was opening an Embassy in Timor-Leste and with the appointment of Grover Joseph Rees as Ambassador, given his background and knowledge on our country. I believe Ambassador Rees will play an important role in further developing the cooperation between the United States and Timor-Leste”, stated President Xanana Gusmão.


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