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East Timor     BELO SAYS EAST TIMOR NEEDS AT LEAST A YEAR'S INDEPENDENCE PREPARATION
Bishop Carlos Belo of Dili says that East Timor should wait "one-to-two years" before declaring independence as the territory needs time to prepare for it.
    The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) is considering independence for the territory around the end of 2001, but Bishop Belo said in Tokyo last Friday that he would caution against it.
    He said East Timor still lacks infrastructure, a constitution, a central bank and security.
    The bishop also cited the need to secure East Timor's border with west Timor in Indonesia, and expressed hope that a UN peacekeeping force will continue to provide security. He noted that at least 120,000 people are still living in refugee camps in west Timor.
    Bishop Belo stressed the need for an international tribunal to investigate the crimes committed in East Timor following the vote for independence in August 1999. It was not the first time he made the call.
   
UCAN
   
21 Sep 00



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