Timor-Leste's Ramos Horta in Dublin


TIMOR-LESTE PRESIDENT José Ramos Horta is to arrive in Dublin today for a two-day official visit.

Dr Ramos Horta, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996 for his efforts to resolve the conflict in his homeland, will meet President Mary McAleese, Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin during his visit. He will also discuss Irish Government-funded development programmes in Timor-Leste with Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power.

Later today Dr Ramos Horta will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by UCD in recognition of his commitment to human rights and his dedication to securing Timor-Leste’s independence. He will deliver an address, “Timor-Leste and Opportunities for Asia in the 21st century”, and is to lay a wreath at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin.

Timor-Leste was designated a priority country by Irish Aid, the Government’s overseas development division, in 2003. Since 2006, Irish Aid has provided about €2.5 million to support Concern and Trócaire’s long-term development programmes in the country.

The Department of Foreign Affairs also engages with Timor-Leste through its conflict resolution unit, which aims to share lessons learned from the Northern Ireland conflict with fragile and post-conflict states.

Last week, a court in the capital Dili sentenced more than 20 rebels to up to 16 years in prison over the attempted assassinations of Dr Ramos Horta and prime minister Xanana Gusmão in 2008.