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About Timor-Leste

Country Description

click here for a map of Timor-Leste (PDF 307KB)

Occupying 5,950 square miles (15,410 sq km) on the eastern half of an island in the Timor Sea between Indonesia and Australia, Timor-Leste has a population of approximately 1.1 million people.  Timor-Leste became independent on May 20, 2002, and is now a democratically governed, independent nation with an elected President and Parliament.  In the violence that followed Timor-Leste's 1999 independence referendum, the country’s infrastructure, never robust, was totally destroyed and has been only partially rebuilt.  In April 2006 violence erupted again in and around the capital, Dili, resulting in further damage to infrastructure and setting back economic growth.  Electricity, telephone and telecommunications, roads and lodging remain unreliable, particularly outside of the capital.  Despite the slow but steady progress of recovery and rebuilding, the country possesses an abundance of natural beauty, from the dramatic steeply sloped mountains, to the white sand beaches and coral reefs. Timor-Leste's economy relies largely on international assistance and revenues from oil and gas production.  Read the Department of State’s Background Notes on Timor-Leste for additional information.

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