The Tibetan Government-in-Exile has congratulated East Timor for regaining its independence and has asked the new nation to take a principled position with regard to struggles of people for self-determination, human rights and democracy.

Revealing this information to the media on May 21, 2002, Secretary Thubten Samphel of the Tibetan Department of Information and International Relations, said the message was sent by the Chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet , Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche, to East Timor President Xanana Gusmao.

The message said, “I have been following the developments in East Timor with great interest. I wish to congratulate you and your colleagues with the tremendous work which has been done to make the transition to peace, reconciliation and independence possible,”

The Kalon Tripa continued, “I am well aware of the tremendous challenges which you and the people of East Timor face, and I wish you all the courage and wisdom that you may need.”

“I know that you and your government will take principled positions with respect to the struggles of people for self-determination, human rights and democracy. I hope that you will maintain your principled position and apply it to other similar cases.”

East Timor celebrated its independence on Monday, May 20, 2002, after over 300 years of foreign rule. Portugal ended 300 years of colonial rule in 1975. The territory was administered by the United Nations until its independence May 20, 2002.

Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche sent similar messages to East Timor’s Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta and Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo.