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

Philippine Statement
Permanent Representative
of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations in New York
Statement before the United Nations Security Council during the

Debate on the Security Council Mission to Timor-Leste

New York, 13 December 2007


Mr. President,

In limine, the Philippines takes this opportunity to congratulate you on your assumption of the presidency of the Security Council for this month and for convening this important meeting to take up the results of the recently concluded Security Council Mission to Timor-Leste. It also commends Ambassador Natalegawa and other members of the Indonesian delegation for Indonesia’s successful presidency of the Security Council last month. Furthermore, it joins other delegations in thanking Ambassador Kumalo for his exceptionally able leadership of the mission to Timor-Leste.

Mr. President,

This recent mission to Timor-Leste is a clear reaffirmation of the Council’s commitment to support and assist Timor-Leste consolidate peace and security which are vital to speed up the process of democratic governance and the rule of law and promote long-term stability in the country. The mission is also the Council’s best way to get a clear field assessment of the situation and obtain an eyewitness account thereof, convey the strongest message of encouragement for the Government, the Parliament, and the people of Timor-Leste to work together for national reconciliation and healing and sustainable economic and social development. My delegation has noted the briefing made by Ambassador Kumalo on 06 December 2007 and the report of the mission and would like to highlight the following points:

First, the Philippines concurs with the mission’s view that Timor-Leste will continue to need U.N. assistance in a number of areas, such as, inter alia, governance, rule of law, security sector reform and economic and social development. It is of the view that in the pivotal short and medium term, the Government of Timor-Leste would benefit from priority action in the maintenance of law and order, good governance and economic and social development. The U.N. Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) is in a position to provide the necessary assistance in these areas. The present police and security forces are helping immeasurably the Government of Timor-Leste, and their presence should be continued and further enhanced. The mandate of UNMIT to promote economic and social development through the compact between Timor-Leste and the international community, as stated in Security Council Resolution 1704 (2006), should be given more focus. Needless to stress, my delegation fully endorses the mission’s recommendation to renew UNMIT’s mandate which would expire on 26 February 2008.

Second, my delegation recognizes the abundant reservoir of international goodwill for Timor-Leste. This should be sustained. International assistance to Timor-Leste should be geared towards self-reliance, but it should not be arbitrarily narrowed or limited. The Philippines has been consistently contributing to Timor-Leste’s nation-building and other endeavors over the years. The Philippines sent a 600-strong humanitarian support mission composed of doctors, nurses, dentists, construction engineers, agriculturists, mechanics and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) personnel as part of the International Force in East Timor (INTERFET) in September 1999. Since then up to the present, the Philippines has been successively participating in the succeeding U.N. operations in Timor-Leste. As part of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), the Philippine battalion was composed of over 707 officers and enlisted personnel with former Philippine Army Chief Lt. Gen. Jaime de los Santos appointed as its first Force Commander. The Philippines is currently the largest contributor of individual police officers to U.N. peacekeeping operations. Most of these individual police officers are in UNMIT, which is the largest police-led peacekeeping operation the Philippines has taken part in. The present UNMIT Police Commissioner is Rodolfo Tor, Director of the Philippine National Police.

Aside from peacekeeping, the Philippines has also made contributions in capacity-building, particularly in human resource development. The Philippines has extended a human resource development package to Timor-Leste through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Third Country Programs. Among these programs were English language training, results monitoring and evaluation training and Foreign Service Officer cadetship program for Timor-Leste diplomats through the Foreign Service Institute of the Philippines . In addition, the Philippines is working with Timor-Leste in facilitating the admission of Timorese students to Philippine colleges and universities, as well as in providing vocational training. The Philippines remains ready to explore other areas of assistance to strengthen Timor-Leste’s capacities and institutions. The Philippines hopes that the international community would do likewise.

Finally, my delegation is concerned over the mission’s assessment that many of the causes of the 2006 crisis have yet to be addressed, specially the issues of governance, separation of powers and building of sustainable institutions. These are issues which new and emerging or even newly restored democracies are usually confronted with. Timor-Leste is a part of the U.N. and any failure in these areas of concern in Timor-Leste, as well as in any other State with the same problems, affects the integrity of the U.N. The U.N., through the Security Council, is looked upon to act more decisively to address these concerns. Foremost, of course, is assistance in building and strengthening institutions. My delegation submits that progress in this field could have been maintained if the United Nations’ presence in Timor-Leste was not drawn down in 2006.

In conclusion, my delegation continues to maintain that Timor-Leste is still one of the best examples of a successful enterprise conceived and nurtured through the sustained combined cooperative efforts of the heroic people of Timor-Leste and their leaders, the U.N., the regional players and partners. The international community should see to it that efforts to build Timor-Leste be further invigorated and enhanced with increasing fidelity and vitality to ensure that it continue to be a success story.

I thank you.

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