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Timor's finance minister leads call for greater control over foreign aid

ABC News - November 22, 2012

Catherine McGrath & staff – East Timor's Finance Minister wants her country and other post-conflict nations around the world to gain greater control over foreign aid programs.

Emilia Pires is chair of the G7-Plus Group of Fragile States – a grouping of 18 nations that are emerging out of conflict, including Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan, Solomon Islands and several in Africa.

G7-Plus is promoting the idea of a "New Deal" between aid donors and recipient states that would ensure aid is delivered in a responsible way to these countries.

The global financial crisis has led many nations to question aid spending while recipient countries often argue that aid offered is not appropriate and not well targeted.

Ms Pires spoke about G7-Plus's New Deal while delivering the Harold Mitchell Development Policy Lecture at the Australian National University in Canberra. "We wanted to end the monologue spoken at us and promote a dialogue spoken with us both globally and locally," she said.

Ms Pires also asked Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr for Canberra's assistance in the development of trade skills for East Timorese.

"Mostly donors believe that is a very expensive program, the vocational training," she says. "However, it is a fact that is a critical element in getting countries out of crisis."