European Commission to give E Timor 100 mln in aid

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DILI, Nov 24 (Reuters) The European Union will give impoverished East Timor about 100 million dollar in rural development aid next year, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said today after meeting Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao.

The EU executive chief signed an agreement to provide 15 million euros for rural development and told a news conference that a further 100 million dollar would be given in 2008.

''This is our commitment to fight against the poverty,'' he said.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was occupied by Indonesia in 1975, and became independent in 2002.

The European Commission will establish a permanent representative in East Timor to promote closer relations, Barroso said. During his two-day trip to East Timor, he will visit the parliament and also meet opposition leader Mari Alkatiri.

REUTERS RJ KP1638

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