Subject: Portugal, East Timor vow to strengthen cooperation

People's Daily Online

Portugal, East Timor vow to strengthen cooperation

Visiting East Timorese President Jose Ramos and Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates agreed Friday to strengthen cooperation between the two countries.

Ramos arrived in Portugal Thursday for a two-day official visit, from where he will travel to Spain.

"Portugal is ready to begin a new and more ambitious cooperation phase with East Timor, a country that has left us very satisfied with its evolution," Socrates said while meeting with Ramos at Sao Bento presidential residence in Portugal's capital Lisbon.

Portugal will strengthen relations with East Timor in various sectors, including education, justice, technology and politics, Socrates said, adding that those sectors are "vital" for East Timor's future.

Ramos thanked Socrates for the political, educational and material aid Portugal has offered to his country.

He also appreciated Portugal's sending national guard troops to East Timor during the political crisis there, and asked Portugal to maintain its military troops in the country "until at least 2011," as they will help to consolidate democracy in East Timor.

East Timor is a former Portuguese colony located to the north of Australia and bordering Indonesia.

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