Subject: UN Official: E. Timor Govt Needs More Trained Personnel

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

UN Official: East Timor Govt Needs More Trained Personnel

TOKYO, July 17 (AP)--The biggest stumbling block facing East Timor a year after gaining independence is a lack of trained personnel to run its administration and police its streets, a senior U.N. official said Thursday.

"It's not money that is needed - it is trained manpower in every sector of the government" said Sukehiro Hasegawa, deputy to the U.N. special representative to East Timor.

Hasegawa was in Tokyo to brief Japanese officials on progress made by the U.N. mission charged with policing and rebuilding the former Indonesian territory, which was devastated in riots by militias loyal to Jakarta after voting for independence in a 1999 referendum

The world's newest country is badly impoverished, with unemployment around 80% and a shattered infrastructure, while armed gangs linked to the militias continue to kill and pillage.

But Hasegawa said that the most pressing issue for President Xanana Gusmao's government and the U.N. support mission was building a civil administration and a police force from scratch with a population shut out of positions of power for much of East Timor's history as a Portuguese colony.

"In Cambodia intellectuals were wiped out, killed by Pol Pot," he said. "In East Timor they didn't exist because Portuguese rulers didn't bother to train or bring up the local population."

The U.N. official said training administrators, judges and police officers was a top priority.

Another pressing issue is rural development. East Timor's economy is almost completely dependent on aid from foreign donors, little of which has trickled down to people living outside urban areas.

"I think the biggest economic challenge is to bring the benefits of independence, recovery and rehabilitation to the countryside," Hasegawa said.

But the U.N. official said he was confident that a deal between East Timor and Australia to share revenues from a natural gas field that lies between them would provide a huge lift for a nation whose only industry is coffee growing.

East Timor's share is estimated at $3 billion over the next 20 years.

Hasegawa said security remains a concern and the U.N. mission had slowed a phase-down of peacekeeping operations. There about currently about 3,500 peacekeepers on East Timor, which shares an island with Indonesian West Timor.

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