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US religious superiors lobby Washington for East Timor support

A week ahead of next Monday's proclamation of independence for East Timor, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men in the US is seeking to persuade Congress to quickly make assistance funds available.

The Superiors are stressing the precarious situation which in East Timor, with approximately 70,000 Timorese refugees in Indonesian governed West Timor, and with economic and financial problems linked to the reconstruction of the infrastructure of the new state.

According to the forecasts. the economic reconstruction shall need an estimated US $A350 for the first three years of independence.

The religious believe that it's necessary to make a "concerted grassroots pressure" on the US government and Congress in order to "prevent the stranglehold of structural adjustment, loans", and the "vicious cycle of poverty from putting its deadly grip on the new country", which would lead to nothing else but new forms of poverty.

According to a report in a recent edition of the Superiors' newsletter, the House and Senate have introduced legislation which would provide assistance to facilitate the transition of East Timor to an independent nation.

"But to ensure that funds will be allocated in time to assist the new government, action must be taken."

Conference of Major Superiors of Men

Vidimus Dominum

14 May 2002