EAST TIMOR REFLECTS ON FIRST ANNIVERSARY

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MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, May 20) - East Timor
President Xanana Gusmao says he has learned from past mistakes and wants to
serve his country better.

The comments came in an interview on the eve of East Timor's
first anniversary as a nation.

Gusmao outlined three priorities for Asia's poorest country over
the next 12 months.

He said the foundation of the rule of law will be a priority
along with economic growth, and it will be important to establish local
governance.

Aid agencies say 40 percent of East Timorese are unable to meet
their basic needs, 60 percent are illiterate and around eight percent of
children die before the age of one.

Gusmao urges patience, saying East Timor is at the beginning of
a process and the important thing is that the administration is aware of the
difficulties.

May 20, 2003

Radio Australia: www.abc.net.au/ra    

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