Subject: Lusa: East Timor lauds Lula, saying Dili will seek closer ties

28-10-2002 11:57:00 GMT 08:57:00 Hora local. Notícia 4273994

Brazil: East Timor lauds Lula, saying Dili will seek closer ties

Dili, Oct 28 (Lusa) - President Xanana Gusmao sent congratulations Monday to Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva, saying that Dili would continue to work towards a deepening of bilateral relations with Brazil.

In a letter sent to Lula, who won a landslide victory in Brazil's presidential runoff election Sunday, Gusmao said he had closely followed the progress in Brazilian politics of Lula, who had also "consistently supported the people of East Timor during their struggle for independence".

"Now, as an independent nation, East Timor wishes to continue to deepen relations of brotherhood and mutual respect", said Gusmao.

East Timor`s foreign minister, Jose Ramos Horta, also welcomed Lula's election, saying that this proved Brazilian democracy was getting stronger all the time.

Ramos Horta told Lusa that Lula was an old friend of his and Dili welcomed "this historic victory of a simple and humble worker, who promises to be a great Brazilian president".

"Brazilian democracy is also to be congratulated, as it is becoming increasingly more solid", said Dili's foreign minister.

The election of Lula, a former labor leader, as Brazil's president marks an unprecedented leftward shift in Latin America's largest nation and economic powerhouse.

Lula, who defeated the center-right government candidate Jose Serra, takes office on Jan. 1 and will be Brazil's first working class president.

ASP/CJB -Lusa-

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