Clinton says world can learn from East Timor


Former US president Mr Bill Clinton today praised the people of East Timor for winning their freedom after years of hardship.

Mr Clinton said he wanted to thank the people and their leader Mr Xanana Gusmao "for giving all of us a chance to remember that freedom is precious and that your freedom was paid for by blood and sacrifice.

Mr Clinton, who is representing US President George W. Bush at the ceremonies to mark the country’s first year of independence, said Mr Bush and the American people "support East Timor today and in the future".

He urged people to forget past differences and face the future together.

An estimated 100,000 people died in the early years of Indonesia's occupation of East Timor. The territory was also devastated by a campaign of murder and destruction by proIndonesian militias, backed by the Indonesian army, after its vote in August 1999 for independence.