administrator meets E Timorese independence chief
UN administrator meets East Timorese independence chief
AILEU, East Timor, Nov 17 (AFP) - The new UN administrator for East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, met here Wednesday with independence leader Xanana Gusmao, who has complained of being sidelined by the United Nations.
De Mello, accompanied by four aides, arrived from the capital of Dili in driving rain at Gusmao's house in this mountain town after being waved past a Falintil guerrilla roadblock by smiling resistance soldiers.
Gusmao, who was dressed in casual civilian clothes and sandals, welcomed the 51-year-old Brazilian on the porch of the bungalow, the house of the former Indonesian district chief of Aileu.
De Mello flew into Dili Tuesday to take up his post as the head of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), which is expected to manage the territory for two to three years before full independence.
He said then that his first order of business would be to meet Gusmao, who is widely expected to be the first leader of an independent East Timor, and denied that there was any real rift between the United Nations and the resistance.
Last week Gusmao told journalists that humanitarian agencies should leave East Timor if they did not want to work with the National Council for East Timor Resistance (CNRT), which he heads.
"If they don't want to coordinate with us, because we know very well what our people need, they can leave," he said.
He also said he was appalled the UN wanted 199 million US dollars from its donors to deliver humanitarian aid. His people could solve the country's problems with just 50 million.
"I'm appealing to the international community -- I don't agree with the character of the help," he said.
Gusmao also said he had proposed to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that a 9,000-strong peacekeeping force, scheduled to replace the current International Force for East Timor, be smaller and used only to secure the borders.
The extra funds should be diverted to humanitarian aid, he said.
Another resistance leader, Mario Carrascalao, speaking in Australia, called UNTAET the "new colonizers" of East Timor, charged they were ignoring the CNRT and said they had even refused to give Gusmao office space in Dili.
But de Mello, 51, said Tuesday he was determined to work in "very, very close coordination, consultation with the East Timorese leadership" and that as far as he was concerned relations between the two "are not strained at all."
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