Subject: Timor not a failed state, says US

Timor not a failed state, says US

April 7, 2008 - 5:07PM


East Timor is not a failed state, but must hasten its development, US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said in Dili.

Hill said the international community wanted to help the nation develop, but East Timor must also strive to increase investment and create employment.

"I think a number of countries are really trying to do [these] things and I hope the people in East Timor appreciate that countries are really trying to help, but this is going to be a long process," Hill said in the capital.

East Timor's troubled past was recognised by the international community, and there were no signs of donor fatigue toward the fledgling nation, he said.

"I think there is a reservoir of good will and an appreciation for the fact that the history has been so difficult," Hill said.

"I wouldn't say there is a particular fatigue with East Timor. I think there is fatigue generally, but not for East Timor."

Hill said East Timor was not a failed state, despite an attempt to assassinate the country's top two leaders in February.

"That sort of assessment is for a country going in the wrong direction," he said.

"I think East Timor is going in the right direction and the issue we are concerned about is not the direction, but rather the pace - to see if we can go in that right direction a little faster."

He said he was impressed with the government's ability to continue after the February 11 attacks.

"What is important is that the government was able to continue and I think there is a continuing effort to get the perpetrators to hand down their arms and surrender and allow the country to move on."

President Jose Ramos-Horta was shot and wounded in the February attack by rebels. Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao escaped unhurt in a separate attack the same morning.

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