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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement
By
H. E. Lauro L. Baja, Jr.
Ambassador and Philippine Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Phiippines to the United Nations

during the
Security Council Public Meeting on

UNMISET

Security Council Chamber, 28 February 2005

We thank you, Sir, for convening this public meeting on Timor-Leste. We also join the members of the Council in extending condolences to the Government and people of Bangladesh over the tragic deaths of their peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

We acknowledge the presence of the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste.

I also wish to thank Mr. Hasegawa, the Special Representative of the Secretary- General, for his comprehensive briefing on political, diplomatic and economic developments in Timor-Leste. Indeed, considerable rewards have been and are still being reaped from the significant investment in Timor-Leste by the international community, judging from the political progress that has been achieved and the relative calm and stability now prevailing there. We equally acknowledge the efforts being exerted by the Timorese throughout the process and their determination to increase their involvement and ownership in the strengthening of their political, legal and security institutions.

We also welcome the continuing improvement in the relations of Timor-Leste with its neighbors, particularly Indonesia, recently culminating in an agreement to form a Truth and Friendship Commission that would address the human rights abuses perpetrated in 1999.

My delegation takes note of the findings of the eight Transition Working Groups contained in the Secretary General’s report and the conclusions and recommendations stemming from those findings.

The international community should heed the wise caution of the Secretary-General against jeopardizing the achievements that have been made through the political and resource investments of the international community in Timor-Leste. The Secretary General’s recommendation for a reconfigured and scaled-down mission will be supported by my delegation during the forthcoming negotiations for a new mission in Timor Leste. This transition period, the country will require a substantial number of international personnel both to fill the gaps in the administration and to address continuing capacity-building. As the Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste said, that would be better ensured by systematic and guaranteed United Nations assistance than by bilateral development assistance.

The present stage of Timor-Leste’s development dictates that the heavy investment poured into establishing peace and keeping it can be preserved only by a sustainable socio-economic development framework for Timor-Leste. A peaceful, free and strong country will require economic self-sufficiency. In the medium to long-term, that is the new phase of investment that the international community should focus on in assisting Timor-Leste. We welcome the information given by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General about the petroleum fund, and in that regard, I would like to ask him for information on any developments on the matter of the maritime boundary of Timor-Leste with Australia. That has been discussed in the past and is of interest to the international community, as it would have a significant effect on the future economic self-sufficiency of Timor-Leste and its capacity to address the many political and socio-economic challenges it faces.

Finally, my delegation notes the creation of the United Nations Commission of Experts tasked to review the progress made on human rights and serious crimes. That is one of the most sensitive issues and we hope the Commission will be able to come up with positive recommendations on the matter. External intervention always needs the cooperation of parties, including the existing institutions and processes concerned, to be fully effective. The history of the United Nation’s intervention in Timor-Leste reflects a partnership with the Timorese and cooperation by Indonesia. Ultimately, the commission’s success will be determined by the common goals underpinning it and the engagement and support of the parties concerned.









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