Statement by H.E. Ambassador Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti,
Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations

Security Council
“The Situation in Timor-Leste”

22 February 2011

I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the Representative of Brazil.

Desejo estender as mais calorosas boas vindas a Sua Excelência, o Senhor Xanana Gusmão, Primeiro-Ministro de Timor-Leste. (I would like to extend the warmest welcome to His Excellency, Mr. Xanana Gusmão, Prime-Minister of Timor-Leste.)

Faço minhas as palavras do Representante Permanente de Portugal ao realçar o admirável papel desempenhado por Vossa Excelência na história de seu jovem país, bem como sobre o significado deste momento. (I wish to echo the words of the Permanent Representative of Portugal about the admirable role played His Excellency in the history of his young country and about the significance of this moment.)

A presença do Primeiro-Ministro entre nós oferece, ademais, ocasião para celebrarmos os muitos avanços realizados e planejarmos, juntos, os próximos passos para assegurar um futuro de paz e prosperidade para Timor-Leste. (The presence of the Prime-Minister among us today offers moreover an opportunity for us to celebrate the significant progress achieved and to plan together the next steps to ensure a future of peace and prosperity for Timor-Leste.)

I will now continue in English.

I thank SRSG Ameerah Haq for her briefing and commend her for her leadership and her work in Timor-Leste. 

Even though Brazil and Timor-Leste lie in different corners of the world, our two nations are very close. Not only do we share a common history and language, but we also face some of the typical challenges of developing countries. Those bonds have given rise to an intense bilateral cooperation over the past years. 

Such cooperation encompasses a broad range of issues, including security sector reform, education and justice, to name just a few. Brazil has provided training for officers of the Timorese national police (PNTL). We have sponsored initiatives on private sector development, professional training, elementary school teachers’ training and technical education in agriculture. Brazil has also been involved in capacity-building activities and training of Timorese judges, prosecutors and public attorneys.

This year Brazil has the special honor of being the “lead country” for Timor-Leste in the Security Council. I take this opportunity to thank Japan for its role as “lead country” for the past two years.

Brazil wishes to congratulate the Timorese leadership and people for the significant progress Timor-Leste has achieved in the last five years. 

Important strides have been made in many areas, from sustained economic growth to enhanced capacity of delivering social services; from improved security to the consolidation of democracy; from promotion and protection of human rights to investment in infrastructure. 

Timor-Leste stands out as an example of post-conflict peacebuilding.

Let me focus on four issues that will gain particular importance in the coming months: 2012 elections, security sector reform, socio-economic development and preparations for the transition period.

The parliamentary and presidential elections to be held during the first half of 2012 will constitute the most important political event in Timor-Leste. We agree with the Secretary-General that a peaceful, transparent and credible electoral process will be an important milestone in the path towards long-term stability and recovery. Brazil is confident that Timor-Leste will achieve those goals, thus consolidating its remarkable gains.

Progress has been particularly evident in the security sector. Ten districts have been handed-over to the national police, while another two are ready to follow suit. Both the Government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT should strengthen their efforts to ensure that PNTL is ready to resume primary policing responsibilities in Díli. 

As Brazil has often noted, socio-economic development is a key component to the maintenance of peace and stability. Again, Timor-Leste has stood out in that respect, although challenges still remain. The international community should continue to assist whenever requested.

The last point I want to comment on is preparations for the transition period. UNMIT has made an outstanding contribution to the stability and development of Timor-Leste. It should now adapt to the new circumstances and assist the Government with the current challenges. These include socio-economic development, institution-building and security. 

Any decision on a gradual decrease in the number of UNMIT police officers should reflect the realities on the ground rather than follow fixed or artificial deadlines. It should also be thoroughly discussed with the Timorese authorities. 

Brazil is glad to celebrate Timor-Leste’s achievements. Prime-Minister Xanana Gusmão and the Timorese people can be proud of them. It is now important for the country to build on such progress in order to follow a steady course towards peace consolidation and long-term development.

The Security Council should continue to assist Timor-Leste in this endeavor.