Subject: NZ to etablish embassy in ET


September 22, 2004 12:43pm

Wellington, July 22 - New Zealand is set to upgrade its East Timor consulate general to a full embassy.

Announcing the move, Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today the current one-person consulate general had been set up in the capital of Dili nearly four years ago.

``As a sign of our ongoing commitment to East Timor, we have now decided to establish a full, permanent diplomatic presence,' he said in a statement.

Another staff member and improved office space would be needed for the new embassy.

Mr Goff said New Zealand would give $3.05 million this year to East Timor through the Official Development Assistance programme.

``East Timor is one of the poorest countries in the world. It ranks 158 out of 185 countries on the UN's Human Development Index, equal with Rwanda and 20 places below Laos, the next poorest nation in the South East Asia/Pacific region.'

East Timor became independent from Indonesia in 2002 after voting for independence in 1999.

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