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Bishop Belo calls for political peace

Dili Bishop Bishop Carlos Belo has urged political groups in East Timor to settle their differences peacefully as the territory prepares for full independence.

Bishop Belo described the political situation in the former Portuguese colony, currently under transitional administration by the United Nations, as "somewhat troubled".

He said East Timorese must now learn that they must live in a climate of democracy, with different ideas and political views.

Timorese independence leader Xanana Gusmao recently resigned as president of the territory's interim parliament in protest at what he said was political chaos.

East Timor is due to elect a constituent assembly in August, which will then have 90 days to draft a constitution, in line with a target of achieving full independence by the end of this year, although UN peacekeepers are expected to stay on.