HC Deb 25 June 2002 vol 387 c721
1. Mr. Neil Turner (Wigan)

What continuing support to improve civil administration he will offer to East Timor. [62104]

8. Mr. Michael Connarty (Falkirk, East)

What continuing support the Government will offer to East Timor. [62111]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Mike O'Brien)

Before answering the questions, I apologise for the non-attendance of the Minister for Europe, my right hon. Friend the Member for Neath (Peter Hain), who is in Brussels for a meeting on the Convention on the Future of Europe.

The United Kingdom has pledged £12 million over the next three years to provide budgetary support for the implementation of East Timor's national development plan. That will help to increase East Timor's capacity to deliver better public services.

Mr. Turner

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Few people have suffered more than the East Timorese did during their struggle for independence and self-determination, but their country's future looks bright because of the possibility of oil and gas revenues. However, that income will take time to come on stream, so will my hon. Friend give an assurance that the UK will continue to fund East Timor until then?

Mr. O'Brien

It is certainly true that East Timor's future is potentially very bright, given its oil and gas reserves. At the donor conference in May 2002, the UK—which pledged £30 million—and other donors pledged a total of $440 million to East Timor for the next three years. We believe that that is sufficient to meet East Timor's funding gap before it can expect oil and gas revenues from the Timor gap to come on stream in 2005–06.

Mr. Speaker

Michael Connarty is not here. I call the next question.

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