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Vatican announces diplomatic relations with East Timor

 The Vatican will establish an apostolic nunciature in Dili, while East Timor will have an embassy in the Vatican, it was announced yesterday. On the occasion of the declaration of national independence, the Holy Father sent a Message to the people of Timor, conveyed by his Extraordinary Envoy to the official ceremonies, Archbishop Renato Martino, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations. The 19-20 May ceremonies were inaugurated by an outdoor Mass presided over by Archbishop Martino in Tacitolo, near the capital of Dili. In a message, dated 6 May and addressed to the apostolic administrators of Dili and Baucau, to the bishops, the authorities and the people, the Pope writes: "In this moment which is so significant to your history ... I unite myself spiritually to all of you in order to share your feeling of joy and to encourage you to construct a just, free, united and peaceful society. "The hour of freedom has arrived! The time for reconstruction has arrived!" exclaims John Paul II. "Freedom must always be defended and preserved, whether from that which could imprison it, or from falsehoods which can pervert its genuine character, to the detriment of the person and his dignity." A Vatican statement said: "The Holy See and the Democratic Republic of East Timor, desirous of establishing relations of mutual friendship, have decided of common accord to establish diplomatic relations between them, at the level of apostolic nunciature on the part of the Holy See and of embassy on the part of the Democratic Republic of East Timor." source: Vatican news service