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22 APRIL 2008
RP NOW A MEMBER OF UN CORE GROUP ON TIMOR LESTE
NEW YORK—The Philippines was admitted today as a member of the United Nations Core Group on Timor-Leste in recognition of Manila's contribution to the international community's efforts to stabilize and rebuild the country, the Philippine Mission to the United Nations said.
In his report to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto G. Romulo, Ambassador Hilario G. Davide, Jr., Philippine Permanent Representative, said Ambassador Dumisani Shadrack Kumalo, Permanent Representative of South Africa and chairman of the Core Group, formally relayed today the admission of the Philippines as the group's 11th member.
"South Africa looks forward to working with you and your delegation in your new role as a member of the Core Group on Timor-Leste," Ambassador Kumalo said in the letter of acceptance addressed to Ambassador Davide. "We further look forward to the Philippines' contribution and participation to assisting Timor-Leste's nation-building efforts as a member of the Core Group."
The Core Group on Timor-Leste was established in 1999 to assist in the formulation of Security Council policies on Timor-Leste and was originally made up of Australia, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group was eventually expanded to include Brazil, France, Malaysia, Portugal and South Africa.
Ambassador Davide said the admission of the Philippines to the Core Group was in recognition of Manila's consistent support for Timor-Leste, which is the only other predominantly Roman Catholic nation in Asia, since its transition to independence.
In 1999, the Philippines contributed a 600-strong humanitarian support mission as part of the Australian-led International Force in East Timor and then deployed more than 700 peacekeepers to support the successor mission, the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor, the military component of which was initially led by Army Gen. Jaime De Los Santos.
At present, Timor-Leste plays host to the biggest number of Filipino police peacekeepers deployed overseas with 131 officers from the Philippine National Police (PNP) currently serving with the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste, the police component of which is led by former PNP Director Rodolfo Tor.
Aside from peacekeeping, the Philippines has also assisted Timor-Leste in its capacity building efforts, particularly in human resource development that included the training of East Timorese diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute of the Philippines.
"Manila is also working to facilitate the admission of Timorese students to Philippine colleges and universities as well as in providing vocational training," Ambassador Davide said. "The Philippines remains ready to explore other areas of assistance to strengthen Timor-Leste's capacities and institutions."
With its membership, the Philippines would be able to articulate its concerns and contribute to the discussions of the Core Group, which basically functions as a forum where differing positions of concerned parties could be resolved before recommendations by the Secretary General are submitted to the Security Council.
"Under this format, the Core Group offers its members, which are not members of the Security Council, a voice in the decision making process that is far greater than that usually available to troop or other contributors," the Philippine envoy said.
At the same time, the composition of the Core Group, which includes three Permanent Members of the Security Council, makes certain that the Council is involved in the crafting of relevant draft resolutions and other documents emerging from the Core Group, Ambassador Davide pointed out. ###
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