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Holbrooke Arrives in Portugal

February 17, 2000

LISBON, Portugal (AP) _ The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations arrived Thursday in Portugal for talks on the recent violence in Kosovo, military conflicts in Africa and rebuilding the former Portuguese colony of East Timor.

``Kosovo is a great worry for all of us,″ Ambassador Richard Holbrooke said on his arrival at Lisbon airport.

He described the situation in the northern Kosovo town of Kosovska Mitrovica, a current hotbed of violence, as ``very dangerous″ and said he expected to discuss possible solutions with Portuguese officials.

Nine people have been killed and dozens injured in the ethnically divided town in escalating violence that began Feb. 2 with a rocket attack on a U.N. bus carrying Kosovo Serbs that killed two people.

Holbrooke was to spend three days in Portugal, which currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency.

``Africa is of particular importance,″ Holbrooke told reporters, referring to the military conflicts in Sierra Leone, Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The EU and African countries are due to hold a summit meeting in April in Cairo.

Holbrooke said he also intended to discuss a reconstruction program for East Timor, which was devastated by militia violence after the territory voted for independence from Indonesia last August.

``Rebuilding (East Timor) is going to take some time,″ Holbrooke said. He would discuss the situation in meetings Friday with government officials and President Jorge Sampaio.

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