Minister of State Kitt reiterates Ireland's commitment to helping Timor Leste in discussions with President Gusmao
Minister of State for Development Cooperation and Human Rights at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Tom Kitt T.D. this morning had discussions President Gusmao of Timor Leste (formerly East Timor).
Timor Leste is the world's newest democratic state and earlier this year was designated by Minister Kitt as a priority country for the receipt of Irish Government development assistance. This assistance will be delivered via Development Cooperation Ireland, the Irish Government's official overseas development assistance programme. The programme is monitored by a development office which has been established in Dili, the capital of Timor Leste.
Minister Kitt and President Gusmao discussed the progress that Timor Leste has made since independence in May 2002 and role that Ireland's aid programme is playing in this effort. They also discussed the current food shortages which have been caused by two years of drought. Minister Kitt informed President Gusmao that Ireland would contribute €150,000 to the UN World Food Programme Appeal for Timor Leste.
Minister Kitt stated following the meeting that:
“Having visited Timor Leste earlier in the year and having met with President Gusmao, at that time, I am delighted that the President is here in Ireland. Timor Leste, as one of the poorest countries in Asia, will face enormous challenges over the coming years. I am convinced that the Government and people of Timor Leste are showing the determination and vision to rebuild their society after decades of turmoil. We in Ireland are happy to partner this new nation in this endeavour. When I designated Timor Leste as a programme country for our support, I was conscious of the important message of partnership and commitment that I was communicating to the people of that young democracy.”
Note for Editors:
The overall objective of the Development Cooperation Ireland programme in Timor Leste is to assist Government and civil society to achieve the vision set out in their National Development Plan (NDP) and to contribute to poverty reduction through the delivery of essential services, institutional capacity building and the strengthening of governance. Development Cooperation Ireland will spend in excess of €3 million in Timor Leste in 2003.
Development Cooperation Ireland is the Irish Government's programme of overseas development. More information on the programme can be found at: www.dci.gov.ie