15 August 2012

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, Visiting New Museum of the Resistance, Applauds

‘Momentum’ Achieved by Timor-Lestesince Independence


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks as prepared for delivery at the opening of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) Exhibit at the New Museum of the Resistance in Dili today, 15 August:

What a privilege to visit this beautiful archive and museum.  Yes, it is architecturally impressive.  But it is much more.  This is a monument that safeguards a treasure that is unique to Timor-Leste:  a vivid history of your country’s inspiring journey to independence.

Walking through the exhibit, I was deeply moved by the stories of countless Timorese who held strong to their vision of independence and never gave up.  Their sacrifices and courage are humbling.  The exhibit we open today captures in picture the tremendous “Momentum” that Timor-Leste has achieved in the past decade.  As this exhibit shows, that momentum can be seen in culture and celebrations, elections and education, sports and street life, infrastructure and economic development.

Not so long ago, national institutions were virtually non-existent.  Today they play crucial roles in promoting stability and democracy.  Successive Governments have taken steps to improve the daily lives of citizens and lay the groundwork for development.  The judiciary has made important gains in upholding the rule of law, and both the national police and the Armed Forces are increasingly able to perform their tasks.  And where once Timor-Leste was a recipient of peacekeeping assistance, you now contribute personnel to help the United Nations maintain peace and security around the world.

This exhibit was produced by the United Nations as the Mission prepares to leave Timor-Leste.  I am pleased that an adapted version will be displayed at UN Headquarters in New York in October and November.  More than 150,000 people from around the world will learn your story and marvel at your success.

It is an additional honour to stand in the footsteps of Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Special Representative of Secretary-General Kofi Annan.  Ten years ago, Sergio — along with then President Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão and former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri — opened Timor-Leste’s first exhibit commemorating the resistance on this very site.

Let us honour that legacy and all of your great work by keeping up the Momentum.

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For information media • not an official record