|Subject: AFP: East Timor hails outgoing
East Timor hails outgoing Annan
From correspondents in Dili
EAST Timor has bade a fond farewell to departing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, hailing him as a friend who helped the troubled birth of the tiny nation.
"It is fitting and proper to publicly acknowledge and bid farewell not only to the secretary general, but to a friend. A friend of mine and a friend of the people of Timor-Leste," Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta said yesterday.
He said a street in the capital Dili would be named in honour of Annan.
In a farewell letter to Annan, Ramos Horta thanked the UN chief for his decisive role in East Timor's emergence as an independent nation after decades of Indonesian rule.
"In your inaugural speech, you said that you wanted to see the East Timor problem of occupation resolved in five years. It was done."
"In the crisis of 1999, post the popular consultation; amid chaos and a near descent into total carnage, you demonstrated leadership and compassion, to bring it to an end. Thank you," mr Ramos Horta said.
Militia gangs, which the United Nations has said were recruited and directed by Indonesia's military, went on an arson and killing spree before and after the East Timorese voted for independence in a UN-sponsored ballot in 1999.
The Prime Minister also invited Mr Annan and his wife to visit East Timor and welcomed his successor, former South Korean foreign minister Ban Ki-Moon.
"I also warmly welcome Ban Ki-Moon, friend and regional neighbour. He has a tough road ahead of him, but he knows he can count on our support," he said.