Subject: Lusa: Religious leader calls for more help from Portuguese people

23-09-2002 19:29:00 GMT 20:29:00 Hora local. Notícia 4139718

East Timor: Religious leader calls for more help from Portuguese people

The leader of East Timor's Catholic community, Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo, appealed Monday to Portugal`s people to give more help to his country, whose situation, he said, is "worse than before independence".

After a meeting with Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio in Lisbon, Belo told reporters, "There are problems with a lack of security, agriculture, unemployment and a need to boost teaching of Portuguese".

"We fought for 24 years for independence. But what type of independence is this. Now we are worse off than before", Belo paraphrased as the complaint he most often hears from Timorese since the country`s independence in May.

Belo, a 1996 joint Nobel Peace Prize winner, called to Portuguese companies and organizations to "support the people of Timor, as they need much".

"Up until 2005/6, when oil begins to come on flow in the Timor Sea, we will live on handouts and international solidarity", said the Catholic prelate.

Education, investment in agriculture, fisheries and business were the priority investment areas, Belo told Lusa, adding that he had asked President Sampaio for help in setting up a Portuguese TV channel or newspaper in his country, which becomes the UN`s 191st member this week.

CJB/AG -Lusa-

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