Donor countries meeting in Norway have voiced satisfaction with East Timor's progress and stressed the need to sustain the momentum of the gains made so far, the United Nations Transitional Administration (UNTAET) said today.
The expressions of support came at the close of the Donors' Conference on East Timor, which ended yesterday in Oslo. In his remarks, Jemal-ud-din Kassum, the World Bank's Vice President of East Asia and Pacific region, said delegates had welcomed the comprehensiveness of the budget plan set out by the East Timorese government.
"Our task, as East Timor's development partners, will be to help the government meet this challenge, and focus our assistance on consolidating progress made so far and helping East Timor build a strong and viable economy," he said.
For her part, East Timor's Minister of Finance, Fernanda Borges, outlined his Government's broad macroeconomic policy objectives: fiscal self-sufficiency by 2006; increased savings and development of non-oil sectors to achieve a long-term, annual non-oil growth rate of 5 to 6 percent; and investment of oil revenues for the benefit of future generations.
The donors noted the Government's request for budgetary support for the next three years and agreed to continue the discussion on the modalities and to indicate their support by the time of East Timor's independence on 20 May 2002, UNTAET said.
Meanwhile in Dili, the Constituent Assembly today voted overwhelmingly to extend its deliberations on East Timor's draft Constitution by one month to 25 January. The Assembly was originally scheduled to approve the country's charter by 15 December.
The Assembly, which began debating the draft Constitution on 3 December, have passed only 18 of 151 articles.