NEW YORK, 10 SEPTEMBER 2001
STATEMENT BY H.E. Mr. FRANCISCO SEIXAS DA COSTA, AMBASSADOR AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL (The situation in East Timor)
Let me start by thanking you for convening this meeting and thanking also Assistant Secretary-General Annabi for his briefing on the outcome of the election for the Constituent Assembly in East Timor.
My Government would like to highlight the importance of this election, which, we believe, is a milestone in the overall transition of East Timor to independence and the setting up of democratic institutions in the country. We must congratulate UNTAET and its entire staff, under the able leadership of Sergio Vieira de Mello, for a job well done. Overcoming this one more challenge on the way to independence was only possible due to the commitment of all the staff on the ground, as well as to the support of the international community as a whole. Portugal is proud to be one of the main contributors to this effort.
My country has participated in the observer missions of the European Union and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries to the election of 30 August. We fully associate ourselves with the statements that both organisations have made in this regard. We have also sent a national team of both government and civil society representatives, which observed the election in all thirteen districts. We welcome the peaceful and generally orderly manner in which the election took place. We believe this was a free, fair and transparent exercise.
Today we must above all pay tribute to the people of East Timor and their political parties. Once again, they gave proof of incredible political maturity and tolerance. For their behaviour during the electoral campaign and for the high voter turn out on election day, they deserve our respect and our confidence. We trust all the political parties will accept the results of the ballot and the will of the people expressed in them.
Portugal welcomes, in this regard, the statements by different parties reiterating its commitment to a peaceful implementation of the results, as well as the statement by the wining party that it is ready to engage in an all-inclusive cabinet. We hope the work of the Constituent Assembly will reflect this spirit of cooperation and national unity.
We must underline express the Timorese have many of our countries by electing 24 women a total of 27% - for the Constitutional Assembly.
We have come a long way since the troubled times of September 1999. Today the situation in East Timor has developed in a way that most of us did not think possible when UNTAET was created. We trust the international community will continue to support East Timor and the United Nations efforts during the transition to independence and beyond.
Thank you, Mr. President.