Subject: Portuguese players support ET at World Cup

AP WorldStream English (all) 06/18/2006 08:06:55 PM EDT

LONG-DISTANCE MESSAGE: On the other side of the world from Germany there's a Portugal fan who is being crowded by bigger worries than how the team does at the World Cup.

Xanana Gusmao, the president of former Portuguese colony East Timor, often attends league or international games when he's on a state visit to Lisbon. Portugal withdrew from the Southeast Asian country near 30 years ago.

In recent weeks Gusmao's country has been wracked by violence after a group of soldiers mutinied and exposed deep political divisions.

On Sunday, Portuguese players unfurled a large banner which Gusmao asked them to show in a public gesture designed to unite the East Timorese people.

It read, in the Timorese language: "Timor Leste, klamar ida deit, povu ida deit" (East Timor, one soul, one country).

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