Japan: Announcement on the Donors' Meeting for East Timor

Press Secretary Sadaaki Numata: Good afternoon. I have several announcements to make. The first is on East Timor. As you know the Donors' Meeting on East Timor took place last week on 16-17 December in Tokyo co-chaired by the World Bank and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET). We feel that this meeting which we hosted was very successful in the sense that the total pledges by the donor countries for the coming three years exceeded US$520 million which is broken down to US$150 million of humanitarian assistance, out of which Japan's pledge amounts to US$28 million which we have already announced. The other US$370 million for rehabilitation and development of East Timor is broken down into three categories. The first is the trust fund of the World Bank and other organizations. The second is the trust fund of UNTAET, which is designed to defray, for example, the salaries of the public servants in East Timor. The third category is other bilateral and multilateral assistance. Out of the US$370 million, Japan's pledge amounts to US$100 million in the coming three years which we announced just prior to the Donors' Meeting. In essence, the willingness of the donor countries to help East Timor dictates the concrete form of pledges which in total exceeded the expectations prior to the Donors' Meeting.

In parallel to the Donors' Meeting, President Xanana Gusmao of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNTRT) was visiting Japan, partly to attend this Donors's Meeting, and paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi. Throughout the Donors' Meeting and the meeting between President Gusmao and Prime Minister Obuchi, Japan conveyed the following four messages. The first is that it is important to continue the efforts toward national reconciliation. Secondly, it is important for UNTAET and the East Timorese people to work together. Thirdly, it is important for East Timor to build good relations with its neighboring countries, in particular the Republic of Indonesia and Australia. Fourthly, and this may be the most important point, the nation building of East Timor really depends on the efforts of the East Timorese themselves. We, on our part would like to extend as much assistance as possible to that end. In his meeting with President Gusmao, Prime Minister Obuchi said that Japan will consider extending support to those East Timorese who are studying in Indonesia and will be looking at the specific modalities for that. President Gusmao expressed his high appreciation for this and he also expressed his appreciation for Japan's assistance in general. One other point which Prime Minister Obuchi mentioned to President Gusmao is that we are studying the possibility of having some diplomatic presence in Dili for the purpose of conducting liaison and coordination with, for example, the people in UNTAET. This does not mean establishing an embassy, but we are talking about some physical presence. That is the comment on East Timor.