Subject: LUSA: PM wraps up 3-nation tour in Portugal

24-10-2002 13:27:00. Notícia nº 4260155…

East Timor: PM wraps up 3-nation tour in Portugal

Lisbon, Oct 24 (Lusa) - East Timorese Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri concluded a three-day visit to Portugal Wednesday, saying he would tell his countrymen that "Portugal`s sympathy and support are unequivocal".

Alkatiri had met Portugal`s heads of state and government earlier in his visit, his first as independent Timor`s prime minister.

On the final day of his trip, Alkatiri called in on the Lisbon parliament, where debate on the government`s budget proposals was briefly halted for MPs to greet him.

The Timorese leader, who also heads the ruling Fretilin party, also visited the justice ministry in Lisbon and was presented with proposals for cooperation in the editing of legislation and the training of judges in Timor.

The creation of an investigating police force was also discussed by Alkatiri with Minister of Justice Celeste Cardona, as well as the future training of Timorese police officers in Portugal`s state police college.

Alkatiri had a working lunch with the chief executive officer of Portugal Telecom, which is currently installing a telecommunications system in Timor.

Dili`s prime minister said his contacts with Portuguese businessmen had been minimal because President Xanana Gusmao had held a number of such meetings on his trip to Portugal earlier this month.

Alkatiri's visit, which came on the heels of trips to Mozambique and Angola, centered on consolidating already strong diplomatic and aid ties to Lisbon, analysts said.

Portugal has emerged as a major aid partner in its own right and within the framework of the European Union and United Nations since the East Timorese voted for independence in a 1999 UN-sponsored plebiscite.

The next senior Timorese official to visit Portugal will be Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta, who is scheduled to arrive in Lisbon in November.

VM/AGO/CJB -Lusa-

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