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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 09:05 GMT 10:05 UK
East Timor's independence: What next?
East Timor is celebrating its independence on 20 May.
It has been under United Nations administration since voting to break away from 24 years of Indonesian rule in 1999.
Before that it was ruled for centuries by Portugal.
East Timor has high hopes for the future, but faces huge challenges - not least the fact that it will be one of the world's poorest countries.
What are your hopes for East Timor? What does the future now hold?
This Talking Point has now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
There is a very short window of opportunity for East Timor - three years perhaps, during which the aid already pledged by the international community may be able to sustain the economy. During that time I believe that the priorities of the new government should be to establish the rule of law through an effective legal system; encourage education to reduce widespread illiteracy and build an educated workforce for the future that can raise living standards; encourage foreign investment, focusing on the development of it's oil reserves. Hopefully this will set this devastated country on a steady course for sustainable development.
Alvaro Arencibia, Cuba
The economic challenges facing East Timor are enormous, but they have faced greater odds than these already. If anyone can tackle these problems, it is the people of East Timor.
Many years ago, I had the good fortune to meet the late Monsignor da Costa Lopes, then acting Bishop of East Timor. His extraordinary courage and love for his people inspired me (and other Canadians) to work for the cause of East Timor. Now the longed-for day of freedom and independence is finally here! May the brave and great-hearted people of Timor Lorosae know only peace, prosperity and happiness in the future. Long live East Timor!
What do you mean what next? Of course it should be Chechnya's Independence and Kashmir's and Palestine's.
I am just blessed to see a brand new nation with its own government and flag. What a relief to see yourself free at last
Let's put this in context: just a few hours before, one of my Timorese colleagues was telling me how he wanted to lay flowers today for his nine family members who died during the struggle, but how they only knew where two of the bodies were. And yet in a moment yesterday, Timor showed the world that forgiveness is the only way forward. What a people. Can you imagine the Palestinians applauding Sharon? The greatness of a nation is measured in such ways, not in size or financial clout. With such hearts, these people have laid a foundation like no other for their future. Viva Timor Loro'Sae!
When I watched the events in Taci Tolo on TV last night, I could not hold back my tears, not for joy or sadness. But after 18 months with the Timores people, I wonder what this means for them. The main reason why those hot tears of mine roll on my cheeks is, the Timores people must understand that no one stands alone and everyone is free to belief what ever he/she feels is good. I commend Mr Annan for having mentioned that in his speech. Good luck to the younger generation and women of Timor who are the victims of daily domestic violence, and bravo to the brave men and women of the international staff.
My heart goes to all the people of Timor and may God be always with you and bless you. How exciting to know that a new nation is born at the time of rage and killings in other parts of the world. We all celebrate your independence as we celebrate the birth of a newly born child - with happiness and joy! May God pave your path to success and happiness in the years and centuries to come.
Timor-Leste is now a free country, thanks to the international community. Anyway we can't forget that for long years Portugal tried to focus the attention of the USA and EU on Timor-Leste. We can't also forget that the USA approved the invasion of Indonesia after April 1974 Portuguese revolution that caused Portugal to leave Timor. Now it's time to help. There's lot of work to do building the country and taking care of the most important subjects like health and education. Viva Timor-Leste!
Stella M.Aleman de Gallardo, Argentina
It's a good sign that the world recognizes that now a free East Timor is there.
I hope that the world will follow the same path to free Kashmir from Indian occupation, as stated in UNO resolutions.
Liberation movements everywhere take notice. Replace violence and hate, with diplomacy and peace, and independence can be achieved. The world needs more U.N. referendums and transitional governments to settle disputes in places like Jamu-Kashmir, Western Sahara, West Papua, Aceh, New Caledonia, Palestine... If you believe in a cause, keep struggling and working towards your goal. East Timor's independence proves it.
Shubham Agnihotri, India
It has been a long journey for Timor Leste/Timur Timor/East Timor with struggle, cry, and hopes. Itīs time now for forgiveness, and looking forward to building a peaceful relationship between East Timor and Indonesia. I wish the East Timorese a better future from the day of independence and ahead.
The international community has done their their part is up to you now,indepedance does not mean stting on the road and playing guiter or going to cock fight, but it means a lot of sacrifice and it time for Malai to go home.
Independence is a long awaited dream that has finally come true for the people of East Timor. International law has finally succeeded in granting justice and self-determination to the Timorese notwithstanding the never-ending obstacles they encountered in their path. My most heart-felt wishes go to the people of East Timor in this moment of joy and happiness!
Rahul Laxman Iyer, USA
of disunity (real or staged) or weakness of resolve
by Australia and the U.N will result in further misery
to add to that if the last twenty five years.
Marcella Carew, East Timor
Rejoice! The struggle was not in vain.
The East Timor Scottish Support Group will be toasting the independence of ET on Monday. We hope the international community will support this emerging democracy and that a new E Timor will be an example of an open society in the region
We wish Timorese a very happy Independence Day on 20 May. East Timor has sacrificed a lot to get her country free, she has many obstacles on her path, but we all hope she can look her country well and prosper. Good luck.
I hope that East Timor will not be continually sold out, as it has been for over the past number of years. Given the experiences in East Timor and other countries, I expect that it will be traded off again.
Hard work make a better life for everybody. Never forget your history. May God bless you all.
I hope the Australian Government signs the Timor gap gas project on or by May 20. This will be essential to the future development of East Timor and its peoples. In this new era in South East Asia Australia must work with Indonesia, East Timor and its neighbours to create a stable economic community. Viva Timor Lorosae...
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