UN special envoy announces first meeting of East Timor council during tour of territory

Sergio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations Administrator for East Timor, today announced that the newly-created National Consultative Council (NCC) would convene for the first time on Saturday.
Mr. Vieira de Mello's announcement came as he and East Timorese Nobel Laureate Jose Ramos Horta, who is also Vice-President of the National Council for Timorese Resistance (CNRT), toured the devastated territory.

The two stopped first in Manatuto, east of the capital Dili, where in a meeting with local leaders, Mr. Vieira de Mello informed them that 35,000 tonnes of shelter material would start arriving in January. He also told a welcoming crowd that a seminar on public health would take place Saturday as a first step towards creating a national health plan.

In Mr. Ramos Horta's address to the crowd, he said: "The UN is not going to be here for 500 years as the Portuguese were. The UN is not going to be here for 23 years as the Indonesians were. They are going to stay here two to three years - a very, very short period of time. We cannot waste time. We cannot waste the good will of the international community."

The two then visited the island of Atauro, north of Dili, which had been used as a place to hold political prisoners. Mr. Vieira de Mello told the large crowd that never again would there be political prisoners in East Timor.

At their final stop in Liquica, they were briefed by UN police on body identification. So far, some 130 bodies have been recovered, including 61 victims of an April massacre at a local church.