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Sunday, 19 May, 2002, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
E Timor independence: Gusmao's speech
Xanana Gusmao delivering his inaugural address
Xanana Gusmao, East Timor's newly-installed president, delivered speeches in English, Portuguese and Indonesian at the ceremony marking the independence of his country. Following are extracts from his inaugural speeches.


"If 92 countries are gathered here today it is because the settlement of the question of East Timor was the responsibility of the international community.

We wish to extend here a word of profound friendship to all those in the world who endeavoured to understand us

Therefore your presence here is the most eloquent testimony of the universal values enshrined in the charter of the United Nations and is equally an unequivocal affirmation of the rights of the fundamental rights of peoples.

To the Secretary General of the United Nations, Doctor Kofi Annan, we wish to express our most sincere gratitude for the personal commitment to the Timorese cause.

We wish to extend here a word of profound friendship to all those in the world who endeavoured to understand us and above all who administered the process.

The list of acknowledgements would be long and it would make a special reference to the courage of [former Indonesian] President Habibie, the efforts of [Australian] Prime Minister John Howard and the decisiveness of [former US] President Clinton."

On relations with Indonesia

"We warmly welcome your [Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri] presence here among us, not only in your capacity as head of state of the brotherly and neighbouring country which we share common borders, but also as a symbol of the democratic yearnings of the brotherly people of Indonesia

This past... should not continue to stain our spirits

The Indonesian people and the Timorese people have endured 24 years of difficult relations.

Today we all agree that the strains in our dealings were the result of a historical mistake which now belongs to history and to the past.

And this past... should not continue to stain our spirits or to hamper our attitudes and conduct."

On Portugal, former colonial power

"I would like to pay a public tribute to the Portuguese authorities, for having turned East Timor and its people into a national cause of their own.

We hope you... stay by our side

I would also like to thank each and everyone of our brotherly Portuguese-speaking countries for their affection, their political support and solidarity, which epitomised our brotherhood and which helped strengthen our relations in difficult times.

We hope you [Portugal] and our CPLP [Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries] brothers will stay by our side throughout this process, which is a difficult but also an exciting one, of our independence and self-determination."

On the future

"Today, you are witness of the resolve to build a democratic foundations of development for the entire Timorese society.

And today, you are witnesses to the hope for the future based on the active and permanent struggle against poverty in all its forms.

Our independence will have no value, if all the people in East Timor continue to live in poverty

Today, with humility - and before the international community - we take upon ourselves the obligations towards our people.

We wanted to be ourselves, we wanted to take pride in being ourselves - a people and a nation.

Today, with your assistance, we are effectively what we have always striven to be.

Today we are a people standing on equal footing with all other people in the world.

To the international solidarity we extend a profound word of thanks from our people.

We continue to count on you to receive other forms of support, geared towards alleviating the hardships of our most needy populations and to the strengthening of the ties of friendship among people

Our independence will have no value if all the people in East Timor continue to live in poverty and continue to suffer all kinds of difficulties.

We gained our independence to improve our lives.

Independence! As a people, as a territory, as a nation! One body, one mind, one wish!"

See also:

19 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: E Timor set for independence
18 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
Timor protest over show of force
17 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor to be born on the web
17 May 02 | Business
East Timor gets oil treaty
12 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor's timetable for change
13 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor lines up foreign friends
13 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
East Timor 'Asia's poorest nation'
26 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Australia pledges $3m to East Timor
25 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
E Timor, Indonesia sign accords
13 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
Hopes fade for East Timor justice
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