New York, 12 February 2007 H. E. Ambassador João Salgueiro, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the United Nations, To the United Nations Security Council “The Situation in Timor-Leste”
I would like to extend to His Excellency, the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, Dr. José Ramos Horta, a very cordial and warm greeting. Mr. Prime Minister, your presence in this debate reflects the high significance that the Government of Timor-Leste attaches to the role the United Nations has played in your country.
I also take this opportunity to commend the SRSG, Mr. Atul Khare, and all UNMIT staff for their commitment and excellent work in Timor-Leste.
Portugal concurs with the statement which the Representative of Germany has made on behalf of the European Union.
In my national capacity, I would like to say the following:
Portugal agrees with the SG’s analysis that the overall situation in Timor-Leste has improved, although the security situation remains volatile and the political climate fluid.
In our perspective a continued commitment of the International Community and, in particular, of this Council, remains critical to securing lasting peace and democratic stability in Timor-Leste. We must assure the Timorese people that the UN will support them for as long as necessary. Next week, the SC will have the opportunity to send that message if the SC wishes to extend UNMIT’s mandate for an additional period of 12 months, as recommended by the Secretary-General.
In the past months, the Timorese leadership has undertaken commendable efforts towards national dialogue and political reconciliation. Many challenges still remain to be faced as the country prepares itself for the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
Security and justice - as there can not be true reconciliation without justice and accountability for crimes – are essential to ensuring the elections are held in a peaceful and stable climate. So that the elections’ results are democratically accepted by all political actors in Timor-Leste. UNMIT’s assistance and good offices throughout the electoral process are needed and encouraged. In this regard allow me to refer to the recommendations of the International Independent Certification Team.
The Portuguese Government further supports strengthening UNMIT with an additional operational police capacity of 2 operational platoons consisting of 72 elements to address security challenges during the electoral and immediate post-electoral period. We are ready and willing to contribute to that endeavour.
Healing the wounds from the past within the Timorese society is another challenge. Helping the Timorese Government to restore people’s confidence in the judicial system, in the national defense and security institutions and promoting human rights is of fundamental importance.
Outstanding grievances in particular within PNTL and F-FDTL can be overcome by the Timorese authorities with UNMIT’s help and in close collaboration with international partners. The signature of a trilateral memorandum of understanding between the Timorese Government, the United Nations and Australia on the provision of assistance to Timor-Leste, that establishes a Trilateral Cooperation Forum, and the signature of the military technical arrangement between the United Nations and Australia are good examples of that collaboration and we hope they’ll achieve the desired results.
The situation of the internally displaced persons and their security in the areas of return is also of particular concern. In our opinion it is essential to create the conditions for their return and resettlement in their local communities.
Portugal has always maintained that the Timorese should be the masters of the choices regarding their collective future as a nation. Whereas there continues to be a clear need for multilateral and bilateral assistance and support, the International Community must be careful to provide it in a manner consistent with the sovereign options and cultural identity of Timor-Leste. As underlined in the SG’s report, our common efforts can only be successful if they enjoy full ownership and acceptance from the Timorese stakeholders.
Portugal will remain committed to the consolidation of peace, democracy, full independence and the development of Timor-Leste and is fully confident that the Timorese people, through their efforts and determination, will be able to unite in a collective effort towards these goals.
Thank you, Mr. President.