H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti,
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations
“The Situation in Timor-Leste”
19 October 2010
I thank you for convening this open debate on the situation in Timor-Leste. I also thank SRSG Ms. Ameerah Haq for her briefing and commend her for her work in Timor-Leste. I welcome Ambassador Sofia Borges and thank her for her remarks.
Brazil attaches great importance to the stability and development of Timor-Leste. We maintain strong ties of friendship and cooperation with this fellow Portuguese-speaking country. Bilateral cooperation currently covers a wide range of areas, including education, vocational training, agriculture, reform of the justice sector, military and police training and elections.
We welcome the substantial progress Timor-Leste has made in the past years. The overall political and security situation is stable and the basis for socioeconomic development is being solidly laid.
It is also true that, as the Secretary-General reminds us in his latest report, “further efforts are required to overcome the political, institutional and socio-economic weaknesses that contributed to the events of 2006”. Keeping that in mind, Brazil will continue to assist the Timorese government and people in the best way we can. We call upon the international community to also continue to provide its support.
Four issues deserve our particular attention today: security, elections, development and the future of UNMIT.
With respect to the security situation, I cannot but commend the progress Timor-Leste has achieved and the indispensable support provided by UNMIT and bilateral partners. It is not a small feat that, since we last met here, in February, the PNTL has resumed primary policing responsibilities in almost all districts and in six specialized units. More importantly, the Timorese Police have been discharging its functions appropriately and efficiently. It is not a coincidence that there has been neither an increase in the crime rate nor major security incidents in districts where PNTL resumed primary policing activities.
Nevertheless, we should not underestimate the important role UNMIT must still play in providing security in Timor-Leste. The three important districts where UNPol has retained policing responsibilities are rather sensitive: two of them are located on the border and the third one, Díli, is not only the most populated, but also the political heart of the country. The strategy for a successful transition in these districts is two-fold: enhanced security and jobs creation, especially for the youth. Handing over responsibilities to the PNTL must be conducted with special prudence and rigor. We are fully confident in UNMIT’s leadership and judgment on how and when to further transfer responsibility to the Timorese police.
The most important political test that Timor-Leste will face in the near future will certainly be the national elections of 2012. We all expect the vote to be held in such a way as to solidify democratic values and strengthen Timor-Leste’s institutions and stability. UNMIT must be ready to provide the support and assistance that the Timorese government may require. Brazil praises all political parties in the country for their continued engagement in the democratic debate, especially in Parliament, and encourages them to continue on this path, in particular during the electoral period.
The third issue on which I wish to briefly comment is social and economic development. My delegation notes with satisfaction the advances that have taken place in Timor-Leste in this regard. We commend the Timorese government for having selected basic infrastructure and energy, rural development and human resources as the national priorities for 2011 and urge donors and partners to align their assistance with those priorities. We also praise Timor-Leste for managing to reconcile strong economic growth with low inflation. Also to be celebrated is the steep reduction in poverty levels and progress towards meeting key MDGs, including the decrease in infant mortality rates. The efforts made by Timorese authorities to ensure food security and to prevent and combat diseases are also noteworthy. However, more international assistance will be needed to assist Timor-Leste expand food production and improve access to health and education.
My fourth and last point regards the future of UNMIT, to which Brazil has significantly increased its contribution by sending several senior police officers. In a few months, we will be discussing the Mission’s mandate, due to expire in February 2011. It will be a time to assess the progress made, in particular in the security situation. At the same time, it will be important to consider the configuration of a peacekeeping presence that is commensurate with the remaining challenges, especially the forthcoming national elections. Brazil agrees with the careful approach undertaken by the Secretary-General. We should continue to draw lessons from the events of 2006, while recognizing and stimulating progress on the ground. This should be coupled with a continued focus on training the PNTL, so that it can further strengthen its capacity.
In conclusion, Mr. President, my delegation believes that the political and socioeconomic progress made by the Timorese and the smooth resumption of policing responsibilities by PNTL so far show that we are getting closer to turning UNMIT into a full success story. We must now stay the course, with prudence and determination. Completing the good work in a sustainable manner should be our collective goal.
We must also renew our support to the Timorese, both as an Organization and as individual States. Brazil will continue to do its part.