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Peters welcomes EU aid to Timor Leste

Peters welcomes EU aid to Timor Leste

Foreign Minister Winston Peters is welcoming the European Union's announcement that it is giving three million Euros in immediate humanitarian aid to Timor Leste.

The news follows a breakfast meeting in Paris where Mr Peters briefed EU Development Commissioner Louis Michel on the situation in Timor Leste, where 150,000 people have been made homeless due to violence and the indiscriminate burning of houses by local gangs.

"The EU's generous contribution to Timor Leste is a very welcome one, and it is likely to be followed by a further contribution at a later date," Mr Peters said.

"At the breakfast, Mr Michel was keen to sound out New Zealand's views on the situation in Timor Leste; and where the EU's humanitarian contributions will be best directed, and how we could work together there for best effect.

"We would be pleased to cooperate with the EU, as we are doing with other donors, in the interests of coordinating assistance to gain maximum impact.

"At this point, emergency supplies of food and shelter appear to be adequate for immediate needs, and donors are beginning to look beyond the relief phase to rehabilitation and reconstruction.

"At this point it is difficult to say what will be given priority. However poverty alleviation, the delivery of government services, and youth employment will almost certainly continue to be key issues in Timor Leste," Mr Peters said.

New Zealand currently has 167 defence force personnel serving as part of a 2500-strong intervention force in Timor Leste. They will soon be joined by 25 police on a three-month deployment.

The government has a $4.1 million annual aid programme in Timor Leste, focused on education, governance, and sustainable rural livelihoods.

ENDS

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