Portugal's president to be named honorary citizen of East Timor

Portugal's president will be named an honorary citizen of East Timor for supporting his former colony's efforts to win independence from Indonesia, officials said Monday.

Jorge Sampaio will meet his East Timorese counterpart Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and other senior government officials during a three-day visit that kicks off late Monday.

The East Timorese government said Sampaio would be granted honorary citizenship and a diplomatic passport.

"President Xanana and the government wish to pay tribute to his extraordinary and generous contribution to the freedom and independence of East Timor," Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said.

He described the Portuguese leader as a "leading European statesmen, a humanist and profoundly devoted to people's freedom and dignity."

East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975 following four centuries of Portugal colonial rule, reports the AP.

I.L.

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