According to ehistorylib, in 2005, the population of East Timor was estimated to be around 1.1 million people. The majority of the population was of mixed heritage, with a significant minority of Indos and Chinese descent. The economy relied heavily on foreign aid and remittances, with subsistence farming, fishing and forestry also playing important roles. Foreign relations were generally positive due to East Timor’s commitment to democracy and its efforts to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Politically, East Timor was a parliamentary republic with Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri at the helm. Alkatiri had been elected in 2002 after a period of instability following independence from Indonesia in 1999. Alkatiri’s government focused on improving infrastructure within the country as well as strengthening ties with other Southeast Asian countries. His policies were generally well received by most citizens although there were some concerns about public spending cuts and tax increases during his tenure.
Timor. Although the bitterness against the former occupation power of Indonesia is believed to live longer than East Timor and the neighboring country took a small step towards normalized conditions when Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited East Timor in April. The countries signed a border agreement, and Susilo visited a cemetery for hundreds of victims of an Indonesian civilian massacre in 1991.
According to countryaah, Dili is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Timor-Leste. A multi-year border dispute with Australia was also terminated when East Timor withdrew the requirement that the territorial water boundary in the Timor Sea should be drawn midway between the two countries. Such a demarcation would give East Timor most of the region’s oil and gas resources, which Australia refused to agree to, citing an agreement with Indonesia in the 1970s. In compensation, East Timor receives US $ 3.9 billion and 90% of the revenue from a jointly owned exploitation area in the sea.
- Also see abbreviationfinder.org for how the acronym TP stands for the country of East Timor and other meanings of this two-letter abbreviation.
The Catholic Church reacted strongly to the government’s decision to discontinue compulsory religious education in schools and to suspend the trial of members of pro-Indonesian militia forces. Thousands of Catholics demonstrated in April against the government and demanded the departure of the Prime Minister.
A national airline, Kakoak Air, launched commercial traffic in March. The first route went to Kupang in western Timor, a 45 minute journey.
On the threshold of 2000 East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was preparing to resume the arduous path of independence that had already been started in 1975 by the Frente Revolucionária do Timor Leste Indipendente (FRETILIN), and brutally repressed on its birth by the Indonesian troops, which for over twenty years they had violently occupied the island. Following the collapse of the Indonesian regime and the expulsion of I. Suharto (May 1998), FRETILIN had in fact relaunched the battle for the constitution of an independent state, succeeding, with the support of the UN, in obtaining the recognition of the right of self-determination. of the Timorese.
The victory of the separatists in the referendum held in August 1999 and the subsequent retreat of the Indonesian army (Oct.), marred by the violence committed against the civilian population, marked the start of a new political phase: East Timor passed under the provisional administration of the UN, which in July 2000 promoted the constitution of a transitional government in which local politicians also joined. The persistence of strong internal tensions pushed the UN to extend its presence in the territory (the withdrawal was initially set for January 2001), and to increase the participation of local forces in the government. In August 2001 elections were held for the Constituent Assembly: FRETILIN won 55 seats, followed by the Partido Democrático (7 seats), the Partido Social Democrata and the Associação Social-Democrata Timorense (6 seats each); M. Alkatiri was appointed prime minister. In March 2002 the new Constitution was promulgated which sanctioned the birth of a parliamentary republic. The text provided, among other things, for the direct election by universal suffrage of the President of the Republic, in office for 5 years. In April 2002 Xanana Gusmâo, historical leader of FRETILIN, was elected president with 83% of the consensus, and on May 20 the birth of the Republic and the end of the provisional administration were officially celebrated. However, the permanence of a United Nations support mission was established to assist the government that was facing a particularly difficult situation both from an economic and a social point of view. The destruction carried out by the retreating Indonesian army had in fact worsened the already precarious conditions of the country, one of the poorest in the world, and the expectations of those who had believed that independence would be accompanied by a general improvement in the standard of living were wrecked.. Poverty exacerbated the dissatisfaction of the former combatants and generated a profound malaise in the country which exploded in December 2002 in violent street demonstrations severely repressed by the inexperienced police forces. The state of uncertainty also continued in the following years, during which ethnic contrasts returned to appear between the different communities living in the eastern and western areas of the island, which had remained dormant at the time of the Indonesian occupation. The growing tension and the escalation of the clash, which ended up involving also the polarized armed forces in the two sides, brought the country, at the beginning of 2006, to the brink of chaos and forced Alkatiri to resign in the month of June. The post of head of government was thus assumed by J. Ramos Horta, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1996 and a charismatic figure of the independence movement, who was entrusted with the difficult task of creating the conditions for a national pacification.
In foreign policy, the government’s main commitment was to define East Timor’s new maritime borders with both Indonesia and Australia. An agreement was reached with the former in 2004, while the presence of oil and gas fields in the area disputed with Australia prolonged the negotiations between the two states. The negotiations, which began in November 2003, were concluded in January 2006 with the signing of an agreement which provided for a division of the resources found there.