Nobel laureate blasts East Timor’s failure against poverty

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former East Timorese President Jose Ramos-Horta is wading back into politics ahead of parliamentary elections next month.

He says the government in the past decade has failed in crucial areas such as reducing child malnutrition and providing clean water. He told The Associated Press he would have focused on those areas if he had been prime minister for the past 10 years.

Ramos-Horta has declared support for the Fretilin party, which is loosely grouped with a minor party in the May 12 election against a formal alliance of three parties including that of independence hero Xanana Gusmao.

Though partisan, Ramos-Horta’s comments underline the challenges facing East Timor, which has focused on infrastructure and oil to boost its economy but has made little progress against poverty.

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