05 MAY 2006Timor-Leste)
BY HE Mr. JOÃO SALGUEIRO, AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, TO THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL (
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for the end of mandate report on the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL), as well as for the proposal contained therein on the establishment of a follow-on Integrated United Nations Office, in response to the request made by Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri in his 17 January letter (S/2006/39) sent to the Secretary-General, as reiterated in a 2 March letter from Foreign Minister José Ramos-Horta (S/2006/157, annex) and a 2 April letter from President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão (S/2006/30).
I also take this opportunity to congratulate SRSG Sukehiro Hasegawa and his staff for the excellent work they have done.
subscribes to the statement made by the Representative of Austria on behalf of the European Union. I will only add the following comments. Portugal
I congratulate the Council for convening this public meeting. It gives us the opportunity to listen to the views of Timor-Leste – here represented today by H.E. the Foreign Minister, Mr. José Ramos Horta - and of its partners, particularly regarding the Secretary-General’s proposal for the establishment of a follow-on Integrated United Nations Office in Timor-Leste.
I think it’s fair to say that from 1999 up until this day, Timor-Leste has probably been the major success story of the United Nations. There are other good stories to tell in recent years, in the context of the management of international peace and security, but no other compares to the degree of success achieved in Timor-Leste thus far.
I pay tribute to all those who have been directly involved in this success, and above all to the Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan. I also would like to evoke the memory of Sérgio Vieira de Mello, a man who did an outstanding job in Timor-Leste and became a symbol for all of us: he embodied the principles and highest values of this Organisation and paid the ultimate price in its service.
As mentioned by the Secretary-General in its report, Timor-Leste has made impressive progress in many areas of governance, institution building and capacity building, with the support of UNOTIL and bilateral and multilateral partners. We also commend the people and leadership of Timor-Leste for their perseverance and their determination to succeed. For us it is no surprise, since the Portuguese people is keenly aware of the suffering endured by the East Timorese people during their struggle for self-determination. We shared that suffering and celebrated together when the moment of freedom arrived at last.
The solidarity of the Portuguese people is the reason why
remains, by far, the largest donor of Timor-Leste. Since 1999 Portugal has contributed more than 400 million euros. The Secretary-General’s report mentions some of our contributions in the areas of justice and electoral assistance, but our cooperation extends to many other areas, namely education, health, social protection, police, armed forces, customs and finances. This puts us in a special position to be able to share the analysis of the Secretary-General, which took into due consideration the requests presented by the authorities of Timor-Leste: “many of the country’s institutions are at a nascent stage and will require the continued assistance and support of the international community”. The upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for 2007, for the first time since the country’s independence, will be a major test and – we hope – “a significant step forward in the process of strengthening this fragile democracy”. Portugal
As recently recognized by the Security Council Members, in the 28 March letter from the President of the Security Council (S/2006/196), requesting the Secretary-General to present options for how the United Nations can best provide assistance to Timor-Leste following the end of UNOTIL’s mandate, we must take into account that peace and democracy in Timor-Leste need to be further consolidated.
The recommendations of the Secretary-General are based on a fair analysis of the situation on the ground. We support the proposals regarding the mandate and the components of a small Integrated United Nations Office in Timor-Leste. These proposals are the minimum required to face the challenges ahead.
I must also underline the following points:
In recent months we have witnessed some alarming developments related to the political and security situation in Timor-Leste. The latest incidents involving ex-soldiers and the police reveal the existence of serious systemic problems within the security forces. This situation requires international support in terms of capacity building for this critical sector. The United Nations should provide assistance to the Government of Timor-Leste in addressing some of the systemic problems within the security forces. An approach solely based on bilateral programs of assistance will not be sufficient, given the political sensitivity of this issue.
Portugal has a longstanding commitment to the promotion of human rights, especially in the case of Timor-Leste. We look forward to the report of the Secretary-General in response to the 28 September 2005 letter of the President of the Security Council (S/2005/613), which requested the Secretary-General to outline a “legally sound and feasible” approach to the question of accountability in Timor-Leste. We support the Secretary-General’s appeal regarding the need to ensure that all those responsible for the serious crimes committed in Timor-Leste are held accountable, so as to respond to the legitimate desire for justice of all those affected by the violence.
will continue to be supportive of the initiatives taken by the Secretary-General in this regard. Portugal
Last August, the Secretary-General wrote in his report (S/2005/533) that “Timor-Leste still has the lowest level of human development in
East Asiaand the Pacific and remains among the twenty poorest countries in the world. Moreover, economic growth has been modest, due to stagnant employment opportunities, a continued downsizing of the international presence and a decline in bilateral and multilateral assistance”. I also dare to say that we should not count on any miraculous solutions arising from the potential revenues from oil and gas exploitation. As stated in that report, in the near future “the country will continue to depend on external assistance to finance its economic, social and human development and to reduce overall poverty” (paragraph 36º of the report).
Timor-Leste has been an investment of high-return for the Security Council. The case of Timor-Leste is referred in academia and the media as an example of the indispensable role and the efficiency of this body. But the time has not come yet for Timor-Leste to be out of the Security Council’s radar. We should do everything in our power to secure this investment and strengthen the fragile democracy in the world’s newest country.
underlines the importance of sustained multilateral and bilateral assistance to Timor-Leste. We recall the responsibility of the international community and of the Security Council in relation to Timor-Leste. Portugal
will remain committed to the consolidation of peace and democracy in Timor-Leste. Portugal
I thank you Mr. President.