05 April 2009

East Timor secures international funding donors

3 April 2009 - DILI: International donors have pledged 221 million dollars to help shield East Timor's economy from the impact of the global slowdown, the country's prime minister said Saturday.

Xanana Gusmao said the global financial crisis would continue to impact upon the world's economies, affecting both developed and developing countries alike.

"Timor-Leste (East Timor) can no longer consider itself as invulnerable to the repercussions of such a crisis," Gusmao said on the final day of a three-day conference.

The meeting, which includes foreign governments, non-governmental organisations, the United Nations and the World Bank, was convened as part of bid to reduce widespread poverty and maintain peace in the young nation.

"Timor-Leste is still firmly fixed on the radar of development partners," said Gusmao.

"The attendance of over 350 people from 31 countries with 221 million US dollars confirmed funding from development partners at this meeting stands as testament to this fact."

About half the country's population lives on less than 88 cents a day.

East Timor gained independence in 2002 after a 24-year occupation by neighbour Indonesia that left around 200,000 people dead.

A mass desertion by soldiers in 2006 triggered violence among police, military factions and street gangs that killed 37 people and displaced 100,000.


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