Subject: LUSA: World Bank, President Gusmão call forsupport to Dili's budget gap

03-12-2003 16:06:00 GMT . Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-5649230 Temas:

Timor: World Bank, President Gusmão call for support to Dili's budget gap

Dili, Dec. 3 (Lusa) - East Timor`s leaders and representatives of world financial bodies and donor countries began a series of meetings in Dili Wednesday in an effort to get international support to plug the world's newest nation`s budget deficit.

The Dili government predicts the budget deficit over the next three years will be about USD 130 million, almost twice the original forecast of USD 70 million.

Delays in anticipated revenues from Timor`s offshore oil and gas reserves mean there is a pressing need for the international community to underwrite Dili`s state spending plans.

President Xanana Gusmão told the three-day donor conference, Timor`s ninth, that donor nation support was "indispensable" due to "budgetary shortfalls" and "institutional deficiencies".

The World Bank`s vice-president for Asia and the Pacific, Jemal-Ud-Din Kassum, told the donor conference`s opening session that his organization backed Dili`s development programs, calling to all of Timor's cooperation partners to "continue assisting in covering the budget shortfall over the next three years".

"We also highlight the demands that will be put on governance and security with the withdrawal of UNMISET and we call to all development partners to actively involve themselves in this transition".

UNMISET, the current United Nations support mission in Dili, pulls out its remaining peacekeeping forces and administrative officials from Timor in May, 2004.

ASP/CJB Lusa

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