Subject: LUSA: Health, education, justice remain main gov't priorities, says PM

East Timor: Health, education, justice remain main gov't priorities, says PM

Setúbal, Portugal, July 18 (Lusa) - Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri says his government's key priorities are the improvement of East Timor's health and education sectors and the restructuring of its judicial system.

Speaking Saturday near Lisbon at a conference to analyze Timor's birth as a new nation and its experiences as an independent state, Alkatiri said his country was in a "period of consolidation".

This process involves the replacement of non-Timorese administrators with natives of the new nation and all but 5% of senior managers in public administration are now foreign nationals, said Alkatiri.

Timor's justice system remains "sluggish", Alkatiri told the conference, adding that he would like to see the existing four regional tribunals streamlined to just two courts.

In the education sphere, professional training and Portuguese- language teaching need to be more widely available to Timorese citizens, Alkatiri said.

Separately, two earthquakes hit both halves of Timor Island in the early hours of Monday, but caused no damage, officials and media reports said.

According to the US Earthquake Information Center, the epicenters of the quakes were in the Banda Sea and 190 km southwest of Dili respectively.

The second tremor was felt in Kupang, West Timor, but no casualties or damage occurred in the city, the online Jakarta Post reported.

GR/EL/CJB.


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