Vatican Establishes Diplomatic Relations With East Timor

Coinciding with Republic´s Independence

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2002 ( new Democratic Republic established diplomatic relations with the Vatican on Monday, coinciding with East Timor´s independence

The announcement is taken from a press statement delivered by the Vatican Information Office on Monday.

The goal of the diplomatic relations «at the level of Apostolic Nunciature on the part of the Vatican, and of the Embassy on the part of the Democratic Republic of East Timor,» is to «promote mutual relations of friendship and cooperation.»

The statement revealed that in this part of the Island, which until now was annexed to Indonesia by force, two Apostolic Administrations are present: one in Dili, the other in Baucau.

East Timor has 750,000 Catholics in 31 parishes, administered by 43 priests. 130 religious men and 220 religious women are working in 247 education and aid institutes.

John Paul II sent a message on Sunday, on the occasion of the Island´s independence (see ZENIT, May 19, 2002), in which he exclaimed: «The hour of liberty has arrived! The time of reconstruction is here!»

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