Reconstruction funds for East Timor to be available soon, UN administrator says

Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in East Timor, said Wednesday he had received assurances that international funds for reconstruction would be made available "speedily."
Mr. Vieira de Mello was speaking on his return to the capital, Dili, from a trip to Indonesia, Geneva and New York. He said he had "very good" meetings with donor countries, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

"One of our priorities is to ensure a speedy disbursement of funds under the six-month reconstruction programme, [and] we received strong assurances that this will happen," Mr. Vieira de Mello said.

He added that he had received assurances from senior officials of the World Bank, including the president, that no effort will be spared to make sure that disbursements actually start in March.

In other news from East Timor, the first batch of 250 Portuguese troops have arrived to take up command of the central sector; a second contingent, which brings the Portuguese contribution up to 500, is arriving Thursday.

In another development, a notorious militia leader, Moko Soares, who is believed to be behind recent incursions into the Oecussi enclave, was arrested on Monday at his home, said General Peter Cosgrove, commander of the international force, INTERFET.