Subject: LUSA: Mounting Instability Natural But 'Preoccupying' - Lisbon Official

East Timor: Mounting Instability Natural But 'Preoccupying' - Lisbon Official 19 Mar-14:08

The Portuguese government views mounting instability and violence in East Timor with "some preoccupation" and is ready to work with the United Nations and allied countries to control tensions, says Lisbon's senior aid official.

While political and social instability in East Timor are "inevitable", given its "complete devastation" by pro-Indonesian forces in 1999, the UN transitional administration and the territory's friends can "contribute to lowering tensions", Luis Amado, the state secretary for foreign affairs and cooperation, said Sunday.

Amado spoke to Lusa on his return to Lisbon after a two-day fact- finding mission to Dili and meetings with Indonesian officials in Jakarta.

In Dili, Amado announced that Portugal was ready to study the acceleration of some aid programs to help resolve pressing needs.

He said UN and Indonesian officials were preparing to begin on May 1 the registration of the estimated 60,000 to 120,000 refugees remaining in West Timor for definitive repatriation.

In Jakarta, he added, he found a "strong willingness" to reinforce ties with Portugal, an openness Lisbon could use to help East Timor establish a "more reasonable relationship" with Indonesia.

On the bilateral front with Jakarta, Amado said there were some "economic and commercial" possibilities which could be encouraged and that Lisbon would soon dispatch a "cultural embassy" to Indonesia.

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