Subject: Xanana arrives in Mozambique

East Timorese Leader Arrives

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)

June 17, 2004 Posted to the web June 17, 2004


The President of East Timor, Xanana Gusmao, arrived in Maputo on Thursday for a week long official visit during which he will also take part in the heads of state summit of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) group of countries.

Shortly after his arrival at Maputo International Airport, where he was greeted by Mozambican Prime Minister Luisa Diogo, Gusmao said that he wished "to thank Mozambique for its long years of solidarity with East Timor".

"I have come with the undertaking to strengthen the relations between the two countries, and draw up perspectives for the future", he told reporters.

The ties between Mozambique and Timor date back to 1975, when Mozambique was one of the few countries in the world to recognise the Democratic Republic of East Timor, declared by the country's liberation movement, Fretilin (Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor).

Timorese independence was drowned in blood when the Indonesian army invaded in December 1975, with the tacit support of the United States. For the next two and a half decades it was largely thanks to the diplomatic efforts of Mozambique and Angola that the Timorese issue remained on the international agenda.

Mozambique welcomed Timorese exiles, and provided them with travel documents. Among those who took refuge in Maputo during the Indonesian occupation was the man who is now East Timor's Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri.

Asked about the ACP summit, Gusmao said this will be an opportunity to strengthen cooperation between the members of this bloc, as well as to discuss prospects for future relations with the European Union.

He added that during the summit East Timor will stress the need for the liberalisation of international trade. This is envisaged in the Cotonou agreement between the ACP and the European Union - but the general feeling among the developing countries is that meaningful trade liberalisation is sabotaged by the subsidies offered by the EU to its farmers.

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