SRSG DELIVERS FAREWELL ADDRESS TO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
Special Representative of Secretary-General Sergio Vieira de Mello today delivered a farewell address to East Timor’s Legislative Assembly ahead of the territory’s 20 May independence.
The SRSG used the occasion to reflect on the achievements and challenges of the UNTAET mission, and to explain the role of the successor mission, the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).
“While recognizing the tremendous progress that the East Timorese have made to date, we are equally aware that the development process has really only begun” the SRSG said.
The full transcript of the SRSG’s farewell address is attached.
TIMOR SEA TREATY ON TRACK TO BE SIGNED ON 20 MAY
East Timor’s Chief Minister Mari Alkatiri and Australian Prime Minister John Howard met today in Sydney and repeated their commitments to sign the Timor Sea Treaty on 20 May immediately following East Timor’s independence.
The meeting followed earlier discussions today in Canberra between Alkatiri, East Timor Finance Minister Madalena Boavida and an Australian team comprised of Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, Treasurer Peter Costello, and Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources Ian McFarlane.
At the Canberra meeting the two sides made progress towards resolving outstanding matters in relation to the Timor Sea Treaty and created a framework for implementation of the treaty.
The Timor Sea Arrangement was initialled by the East Timor Transitional Administration and the Australian Government in Dili on July 5, 2002.
PROPOSED BUDGET RELEASED AHEAD OF DONOR’S CONFERENCE
The Government of East Timor today released the annual budget it will present at next week’s Donor Meeting for East Timor in Dili.
Ministry of Finance officials say the budget delivers on the Government’s commitment at the Oslo Donor’s Conference in December 2001 to contain growth in medium-term expenditures and provide a plausible donor exit strategy from the provision of direct budget support.
Eighty percent of the combined sources budget is directed to the social and economic sectors, a ten percent increase on the current year. New funding measures are targeted in the health, education, information technology and security sectors.
The budget is presented as a draft and basis for discussion at the 14-16 May donor’s conference, after which it will be returned to the Council of Ministers for finalization within the context of donor pledges. It will then be submitted to the Legislative Assembly early next month for consideration over a three-week period prior to passage of the 2002-03 Budget Appropriations Regulation.
For copies of the draft budget please e-mail: email@example.com
MORE THAN 1,000 REFUGEES RETURN SINCE BEGINNING OF MONTH
More than 1,000 refugees have returned to East Timor during the first 10 days of May, bringing the total repatriation figure to well over 205,000 refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) believes that further large numbers of refugees may decide to return in the final days before East Timor’s 20 May independence, and is taking various measures along the border to cope with another large-scale influx.
UNHCR officials today issued a new appeal for refugees to return before independence, and reiterated to potential returnees that the border is open, and will remain open, before, during and after East Timor’s independence.
UNHCR officials in Dili last week announced that more than 6,000 refugees had returned to East Timor in April, the highest monthly return since March 2000. Many of these refugees cited Xanana Gusmão’s victory in the 14 April presidential election and East Timor’s imminent independence as their main reasons for returning home.
EAST TIMOR INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATIONS WEBSITE LAUNCHED
East Timor’s Independence Celebrations entered cyberspace today as organisers launched the Celebration’s official website.
The website – http://www.easttimoridc.org – contains a wealth of information on the month-long celebrations, including media information, sponsorship details and schedules of events.