Subject: AFP: Timorese bishop urges nation's leaders to stay at home

Agence France Presse

October 20, 2002 Sunday East Timorese bishop urges nation's leaders to stay at home

LISBON, Oct 20

Nobel peace laureate Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo on Sunday called on East Timor's leaders to spend more time at home and listen to the concerns of the tiny nation's people.

"They fly from country to country searching for money, but the reality is the population expects that their everyday problems get solved," he said in an interview with the Lusa news agency in Portugal.

more often," he added.

The influential bishop of Dili, the capital of East Timor, said people in East Timor frequently complain to him about the poor state of roads, the lack of school materials and the shortage of medical staff in the newly independent country.

His comments came just one day before East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alcatiri is scheduled to begin a three-day official visit to former colonial ruler Portugal.

Alacatiri is scheduled to meet with his Portuguese counterpart Jose Manuel Durao Barroso as well as various ministers in talks that are expected to focus on efforts to rebuild the war-battered country.

The leader of the world's newest country will make the stop in Lisbon on his way home from visits to Mozambique and Angola, two former African Portuguese colonies.

Earlier this month, East Timorese President Xanana Gusmao visited Portugal, one of the main backers of the nation in its independence struggle against Indonesia, in an effort drum up Portuguese private investment.

Ximenes Belo was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1996 together with the current Foreign Minister of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta, for their struggle for independence from Indonesian rule in East Timor.


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