23 JANUARY 2006JOÃO SALGUEIRO, AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY AND PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF PORTUGAL TO THE UNITED NATIONS, TO THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL (Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste)
BY HE Mr.
I want first of all to welcome the presence of President Xanana Gusmão and of Foreign Minister Ramos Horta. I also want to express my appreciation for President Xanana's most valuable contribution to this debate.
I would like to thank the Secretary-General for his latest report on the situation of Timor-Leste and to thank Special Representative Hasegawa for his excellent presentation. I will take this opportunity to praise the dedicated efforts of the civilian, military and police components of UNOTIL and congratulate them in their many achievements in Timor-Leste.
Portugal subscribes to the statement made by the representative of Austria on behalf of the European Union. I will only add a few comments of our own.
First, we agree with the evaluation made by the UN on the situation of Timor-Leste and how the successful conclusion of local elections, the strengthening of the legal framework through the adoption of key legislation and the improved observance of human rights by the police are good examples of such progress. We share the view that, overall the situation in Timor-Leste remains stable, except for a few incidents involving the incursion of former militias into Timor-Leste and a serious border incident a few weeks ago that resulted in the death of three infiltrators. In this context, I would like to emphasize that even relatively low level incidents could have a significant impact and consequences for the stability of Timor-Leste.
My second point is a direct consequence of this perception. Timor-Leste is in a critical period of its peace-building process and the report of the SG clearly outlines a number of areas that are in need of international assistance beyond the mandate of UNOTIL, namely justice, finance, police training and in the management of the border. Moreover, another challenge facing Timor-Leste will be the preparations for and conduct of the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 2007, the first ones since the country assumed independence in 2002.
Under the present circumstances Portugal supports the Secretary-General's proposal that - while the future of the country rests first and foremost with the Timorese people and their government - the international community should remain engaged in Timor-Leste beyond 20 May 2006, when UNOTIL's mandate expires.
Portugal believes that we must devise what kind of international presence will be appropriate to assist Timor-Leste in its way to long-term stability and development, and in the tasks that the Timorese government finds it needs more urgent UN support.
We welcome the steady and positive development in the relationship of Timor-Leste and its neighbour Indonesia. An example is the effort to finalise de demarcation of the remaining 1 per cent of the border, which is the result of the consistent commitment by the leadership of both countries.
Portugal also welcomes the recent signing of the agreement between Australia and Timor-Leste which will provide much needed resources to the sustainable economic progress of this new country. In this context, we congratulate the government of Timor-Leste for its initiative to create a mechanism to ensure transparency for the management of these resources.
We must acknowledge the importance of continuing bilateral assistance and to underline the responsibility of the international community in relation to Timor-Leste. I would just like to point out that Portugal signed an assistance plan this past week with the Timorese government where it commits 32.6 MUSD in development assistance to Timor-Leste for 2006.
My final remarks relate to the responsibility of the international community and of the Security Council in relation to Timor-Leste. In this regard, we reiterate our support to the report of the Secretary General's Commission of Experts and we note the request of the Security Council to the Secretary General to submit a report on justice and reconciliation for Timor-Leste with a practically feasible approach, so that the expectations of the people are met.
Regarding the Commission of Truth and Friendship established by the governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia in 2004, we urge both governments to revisit certain provisions contained in its statute in order to ensure that justice and accountability are achieved in accordance with international standards.
Thank you Mr. President