SECURITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS PROPOSALS FOR NEW, INTEGRATED UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN TIMOR-LESTE CONSISTING OF MILITARY, POLICE, CIVILIAN COMPONENTS
SECURITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS PROPOSALS FOR NEW, INTEGRATED UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN TIMOR-LESTE CONSISTING OF MILITARY, POLICE, CIVILIAN COMPONENTS
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
5512th Meeting (AM)
SECURITY COUNCIL CONSIDERS PROPOSALS FOR NEW, INTEGRATED UNITED NATIONS MISSION
IN TIMOR-LESTE CONSISTING OF MILITARY, POLICE, CIVILIAN COMPONENTS
Secretary-General Recommends Mission to Support
Government, Assist in National Reconciliation Process
The Security Council this morning considered the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a new, “multidimensional and integrated” mission for Timor-Leste, consisting of military, police and civilian components, with some speakers disagreeing on the need for a United Nations military component.
In his report on the future role of the United Nations in Timor-Leste, the Secretary-General recommends the establishment of such a mission, with the mandate to support the Government of Timor-Leste and to assist it in its efforts to bring about a process of national reconciliation; to support the country in all aspects of the 2007 presidential and parliamentary electoral process; to ensure, through the presence of United Nations police with an executive policing mandate, the restoration and maintenance of public security; to assist in liaising with the Indonesian military, through the impartial presence of United Nations military liaison officers; and to assist in further strengthening the national capacity for the monitoring, promotion and protection of human rights.
The mandate would also include provisions to assist the Prosecutor-General in resuming the investigative functions of the former Serious Crimes Unit; mainstream gender perspectives and those of children and youth; and ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel. The Secretary-General recommends that the mission be established for an initial period of 12 months, until after the implementation of the 2007 election results.
Introducing the Secretary-General’s reports containing those recommendations, Ian Martin, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, said the fact that the Council was asked to mandate a large mission after downsizing former missions should not be seen as a reversion. The proposals would establish a more effective compact between Timor-Leste and the international community. The central failure revealed by the April and May crisis had been in the security sector. Reforming the security sector was therefore a core task. The challenge to the justice system as it confronted serious crimes was greater than ever, and the protection of human rights needed strengthening.
The new mission must be ready to support a process of dialogue across political divisions and community reconciliation, particularly between east and west, he said. The demand of accountability, as part of the necessary basis for reconciliation, was a strong one, and the crucial work of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry would provide an objective starting point. He urged the Council to send a strong message to the people of Timor-Leste that the renewed determination of the international community to stand by them would be a sustained commitment.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, Jose Luis Guterres, conveyed his people’s gratitude to the countries that had contributed to the international stabilization force after the April events, namely Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal. He said the events of April and May had revealed an acute need for continued long-term international assistance for the building of viable State institutions, notably in the areas of security, justice and development.
As Timor-Leste was one of the poorest countries in the world, poverty, high urban unemployment and the absence of any opportunities for young people had also contributed to the crisis, he said. The new mission should, therefore, also provide assistance in the design of poverty reduction and economic-growth policies and strategies. He hoped that, with the combination of the better economic and social policies and continuing international support in all areas, today’s crisis could be overcome.
“The recent crisis in Timor-Leste has evoked great sadness and soul searching among ourselves, and has led to deep and honest reflection on the solutions for the difficult challenges confronting us today.” he said, appealing to the Council to work with the Government to ensure that Timor-Leste would not relapse into conflict. The Secretary-General’s recommendations, including a small United Nations force, were the best option with which to face the current crisis in Timor-Leste, he said, hoping that, with the help of the international community, his country would have a future of peace and development.
Many speakers in the debate stressed that, despite the “regrettable” events of April and May, the young country had made great strides forward and deserved continued international support. The representative of the Philippines echoed many speakers’ sentiments, by saying that, despite the events in the past months, Timor-Leste was still one of the best examples of a successful international enterprise engineered through the combined cooperative efforts of the United Nations, regional players and partners. He suggested that Timor-Leste was a prime candidate to be considered in the Peacebuilding Commission.
Addressing the issue of a military component in the new mission, the representative of the United Kingdom said that, while it was important to have an international stabilizing force as a bridging measure, putting in place a mandate for a new United Nations force would be unnecessary, given the presence of partners currently on the ground. Also, it was unclear that a United Nations military liaison office to assist in border security operations was actually needed, since border tensions no longer seemed to be a source of instability.
Australia’s representative said the security task, for the future, was primarily a law and order one, to be addressed by civilian police. However, Australia accepted that, for some time, there would be a need for military back-up to the police and for additional security for United Nations personnel, given the significant number of high-powered weapons remaining unaccounted for. While Australia was gradually drawing down its military force of 2,000 in Timor-Leste, it would, nevertheless, be prepared to continue providing forces for purposes of the new mission.
The representative of Brazil, however, expressed concern at a tendency to transfer the responsibilities of the United Nations and Security Council to individual countries. While such expediency might help in emergencies, it carried many risks, ranging from an association of the United Nations with condoning “trusteeship”, to the prejudice caused to the body’s image as a neutral and impartial provider of assistance. It was critical for the Council’s credibility that the new mission be established in full agreement with the Timorese authorities.
Also speaking in today’s debate were the representatives of United Republic of Tanzania, Argentina, Congo, China, Denmark, Japan, France, Qatar, Russian Federation, Greece, United States, Peru, Slovakia, Ghana, Finland (on behalf of the European Union), Singapore, Portugal, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cape Verde, Cuba and New Zealand.
The Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries also addressed the Council.
The meeting started at 10:09 a.m. and was adjourned at 1:10 p.m.
The Security Council had before it the Secretary-General’s report on justice and reconciliation for Timor-Leste (document S/2006/580). As a unique vehicle for advancing the bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Timor-Leste, the Commission of Truth and Friendship, established jointly by the two countries, is a worthwhile mechanism that merits encouragement to deliver on its mandate, the Secretary-General states. He hopes the Commission will succeed in revealing the truth about the events of 1999, including the names of perpetrators of serious crimes, and make recommendations that will contribute to achieving accountability. He encourages the Commissioners and the two Governments to continue to make every effort to clarify outstanding issues arising from the Commission’s terms of reference, particularly regarding the question of amnesty. The more credible the Commission is in the implementation of its mandate, the better it will be able to contribute to addressing the issue of impunity for serious crimes of 1999, and carrying forward the bilateral relationship between Indonesia and Timor-Leste.
While commending the two Governments for investing much effort at the present stage in pursuing reconciliation, he notes that further efforts and cooperation will be required to develop a practically feasible accountability mechanism that could lead to those who committed serious crimes being brought to justice, in keeping with human rights standards. The Secretary-General is hopeful that the Commission of Truth and Friendship can lay the foundation for further efforts by the two Governments in this area. For its part, the United Nations will remain available to consider any future request for assistance to that end.
The looting and vandalism that occurred from 28 to 30 May and on 5 June at several key judicial institutions has caused serious concern, given the risk that such incidents might result in the loss of vital records relating to justice and reconciliation, and carry security implications for victims, witnesses and suspects alike. Stating that it is imperative that every measure be taken to secure these sites and prevent any tampering of the records and equipment located therein, the Secretary-General calls on the Timorese Government to ensure that physical security is provided to all relevant sites and State property, in order to safeguard the process of justice and reconciliation for Timor-Leste. Given its involvement in the development of the serious crimes process, the United Nations is ready to provide further assistance to the Timorese authorities to ensure full verification of the extent of any loss or damage to any serious crimes records and material.
The report notes that the closure of the serious crimes process pursuant to Security Council resolution 1543 (2004) left a number of serious issues unresolved, including the question of how to address the more than 300 arrest warrants that were issued by the Special Panels and remain outstanding, including those persons residing in Indonesia and abroad. The United Nations stands ready to assist the relevant Timorese institutions in their efforts to pursue the prosecution of those indicated for serious violations, but not tried by the Special Panels.
The re-establishment of the prosecutorial component of the now-defunct Serious Crimes Unit would not be practically feasible at the present time, the Secretary-General concludes. However, the resumption of the investigative functions of the Serious Crimes Unit in order to complete the investigations into several hundred serious crimes is not only practically feasible, but would also substantially allay concerns about the risk of leaving the expectations of the Timorese people unmet. Completing the investigations would minimize the time necessary to compile a full and accurate factual record of serious crimes committed in 1999, which in turn would assist any prosecution for such crimes that may be undertaken through the Timorese judicial system, as well as further examination by the Commission on Truth and Friendship and any other relevant bodies.
The pursuit of justice and reconciliation is by nature a process that evolves over time, the report states. In the case of Timor-Leste, the challenges are all the more complex, given that the justice and reconciliation process is both national and bilateral. The two Governments have a responsibility to ensure credible accountability and an end to impunity. “Crimes against humanity, gross violations of human rights and grave breaches of humanitarian law were committed in East Timor in 1999. There can and should be no impunity regarding such acts,” the Secretary-General says, adding that he “holds out hope that justice can be achieved as well, in a timely manner”.
Meanwhile, the international community, and in particular the Council, which has been involved in the matter since 1999, has a responsibility to uphold the universal principles of human rights on which a credible process of justice and reconciliation must rest. In that regard, a practically feasible approach to justice and reconciliation at the present stage should include several recommendations for the Council’s consideration, including that it welcome the efforts made so far by Indonesia and Timor-Leste in pursuance of truth and friendship, and encourage the two Governments and the Commissioners to make every effort to further strengthen the Commission of Truth and Friendship’s efficiency and credibility, including through a review of the amnesty clause to ensure conformity with international standards and principles.
The Secretary-General recommends that the Indonesian and Timorese Governments continue their efforts to strengthen the capacity of their respective judicial systems, particularly regarding the prosecution of serious human rights violations committed in East Timor in 1999, and that the Council call upon Member States to provide any assistance that may be requested in this regard by either Government. He recommends that the Council endorse the creation by the United Nations of a programme of international assistance for Timor-Leste, consisting of the establishment of a solidarity fund by the United Nations to accept voluntary contributions from Member States for the purpose of funding a community restoration programme and a justice programme in Timor-Leste to provide victims with collective restorative measures, individual restorative measures, including small disability pensions, and reconciliatory measures, including public acknowledgement of individual serious crimes.
The Secretary-General also recommends the establishment of a justice programme to provide for the establishment, within the Office of the Prosecutor-General of Timor-Leste, of an experienced investigative team, lead by an international serious crimes investigator, with sufficient resources to resume the investigative functions of the former Serious Crimes Unit, as well as for international assistance to Timor-Leste in the justice and rule of law sector, in order to strengthen the capacity of relevant institutions to prosecute the serious crimes committed in 1999, as requested by Timor-Leste’s Government.
In order to ensure appropriate follow-up of the progress made in regard to such measures, the Secretary-General recommends that the Council remain seized of the matter of justice and reconciliation for Timor-Leste, and that it continues to monitor the progress made in that regard in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. He further recommends that assistance measures to further strengthen national capacity and mechanisms for the promotion of justice and reconciliation in Timor-Leste be included as part of the mandate of any post-UNOTIL (United Nations Office in Timor-Leste) mission.
The Council had also before it the Secretary-General’ report on Timor-Leste pursuant to Security Council resolution 1690 (2006) (document S/2006/628), recommending the establishment of a United Nations multidimensional, integrated mission, with the mandate to support the Government of Timor-Leste and to assist it in its efforts to bring about a process of national reconciliation; to support the country in all aspects of the 2007 presidential and parliamentary electoral process; to ensure, through the presence of United Nations police with an executive policing mandate, the restoration and maintenance of public security; to assist in liaising with the Indonesian military through the impartial presence of United Nations Military Liaison Officers; and to assist in further strengthening in the national capacity for the monitoring, promotion and protection of human rights.
The mandate will also include provisions to assist the Prosecutor-General in resuming the investigative functions of the former Serious Crimes Unit; mainstream gender perspectives and those of children and youth; and ensure the security and freedom of movement of United Nations and associated personnel. The Secretary-General recommends that the mission be established for an initial period of 12 months, until after the implementation of the 2007 election results.
To fulfil the mandate of the mission, a strong civilian component, including a United Nations civilian police element of substantially greater strength than in the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL), with the support of a small United Nations military component, would be required. The mission would operate under the leadership of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, who would also serve as the Head of Mission. The Special Representative would have overall authority over other United Nations activities in Timor-Leste in support of the mission’s mandate, and would provide leadership, political guidance and support to the United Nations system in this regard. The Special Representative would be assisted by a senior management team, comprising among others, two deputies, a police commissioner, a force commander and a chief administrative officer.
The Special Representative would be supported, as part of his/her office, by a political affairs unit, a planning and best practices unit, a legal affairs unit, a conduct and discipline unit, a public information and outreach unit, a joint operations centre, a joint mission analysis centre, a resident auditor’s unit and a senior gender adviser.
A Deputy Special Representative for Security Sector Support and Rule of Law would have responsibility for the security sector support unit, the human rights and transitional justice unit, the administration of justice support unit, the civilian police component, the military component, the United Nations security section and the administrative support section, and would act as chief of mission in the absence of the Special Representative.
A Deputy Special Representative for Governance Support, Development and Humanitarian Coordination, also serving as the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, would have primary responsibility for the electoral unit, the democratic governance support unit, the economic development support unit and the donor resource mobilization and coordination unit, as well as the HIV/AIDS adviser.
The Chief of Staff of the Special Representative would be responsible for procedural coordination within the mission, channelling communication between the Special Representative and all components of the operation, and for the day-to-day management of the office of the Special Representative.
In his report, the Secretary-General observes that the new Government represents a political compromise, and must address the grievances that gave rise to the crisis, as well as developing strategies to tackle its underlying causes. “It is time for the Timorese leadership to rise above both recent conflicts and older divisions, going back to the 1970s, to enable the Timorese people to look together to a better future.” The east-west tensions that have been manifested in the violence may not be deeply rooted, but they have acquired a reality that now needs to be addressed through the active efforts of the political and religious leadership, if community reconciliation is to be achieved, especially in Dili.
He goes on to say that reconciliation must be based on truth, and on the accountability of those with responsibility for violations of human rights, whether criminal or political. The Independent Special Commission of Inquiry will offer a good basis for this in relation to recent events. The proposed re-establishment of a capacity to investigate the serious crimes of 1999, as well as active follow-up to the report of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation, will constitute a recognition that combating impunity in one set of circumstances is necessary to prevent impunity in the next.
Introduction of Reports
IAN MARTIN, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, said the Council was asked to mandate a large mission after downsizing former missions. That might be seen as a reversion; however, Timor-Leste was today a sovereign State, which had struggled hard for its independence. Its second constitutional Government represented a political compromise, forged by the Timorese to manage the most serious crisis faced by the State, and to steer the country towards its first post-independence parliamentary and presidential elections. The international support provided had achieved much. The proposals in the Secretary-General’s report would not reverse the process, but would establish a more effective partnership between Timor-Leste and the international community.
He said that such a partnership should assure that the international community provided assistance and advice in a context of coordination and complementarity. The key roles to be played by the mission were in the areas of security, administration of justice and the functioning of democratic institutions. The central failure revealed by the crisis had been in the security sector, and reforming the police sector was, therefore, a core task. It was a substantial task, as the assessment mission had established that a weakness of the police existed throughout the country. The wider context was a fundamental review of the whole security sector, however. The challenge to the justice system as it confronted serious crimes was greater than ever, and the protection of human rights needed strengthening.
The twin challenges faced by the Government, aided by the Church and civil society, were dialogue across political divisions and community reconciliation, in particular between east and west. The new mission must be ready to support that process. The demand of accountability as part of the necessary basis for reconciliation was a strong one, and the crucial work of the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry would provide an objective starting point. The proposals for the new mission also incorporated the Secretary-General’s recommendations on justice and reconciliation.
He said the moments when Timor-Leste was in the international spotlight were rare and fleeting, but members of the Council had been united in their willingness to assist the country at a time of difficulty. “Today, I urge the Council to send a strong message to the people of Timor-Leste that the renewed determination of the international community to stand by them will indeed be a sustained commitment, by supporting this and all other recommendations set out in the Secretary-General’s report for a new mission, which correspond, I believe, to the appeal of Timor-Leste’s Government and people”, he said in conclusion.
TUVAKO N. MANONGI (United Republic of Tanzania) said that, even without the regrettable events of the past three months, Timor-Leste’s needs were immense. The country could not confront the challenge alone. The United Nations could be proud of the way it had assisted the people of Timor-Leste on their march to independence. If that invaluable investment was to make a lasting contribution to the growth and stability of Timor-Leste, the work towards supporting effective and credible security, administration and judicial institutions would need to be carried to its conclusion. The United Nations had an important role in that effort.
He said the assessment mission had established that the future of Timor-Leste would require the reconciliation of communities deeply divided by violence, the building of a truly national army and police force, the establishment of the rule of law, addressing human rights abuses and focusing on the core of the problem; poverty. That was a daunting job and a complex responsibility that would require contributions of resources and expertise from the international community. However, the United Nations must play a central role in the support for Timor-Leste, while urging individual Governments and regional and international organizations to do likewise.
CESAR MAYORAL ( Argentina) said his country fully supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General, and endorsed the establishment of a multidimensional integrated mission in Timor-Leste for one year, with the mandate, operational concept and structure proposed in his report. Indeed, the recommendations adequately reflected what had been requested by the Timorese Government. Further, the United Nations should fully respect the sovereignty and particularities of that country, since it was essential that the process be led by the Timorese themselves.
He said the forthcoming general elections, to be held in 2007, would be a landmark event in the consolidation of Timorese institutions, and the United Nations must support that process to ensure success. Also, since the justice sector and police had been most affected during the recent crisis, most international assistance efforts should focus on those areas. Argentina supported, too, the efforts between Timor-Leste and Indonesia to achieve genuine reconciliation, and the Commission of Truth and Friendship could be a valuable mechanism in that regard. Both those Governments must review the amnesty clause to ensure conformity with international human rights standards.
He noted the Secretary-General’s recommendations for establishing a mission comprising all necessary components to face complex security challenges, such as those that had occurred last April and May. The new mission should emphasize the deployment of a robust police component to support the maintenance of internal law and order, and to contribute to the training of the Timorese National Police. In light of the elections scheduled for 2007, the continued presence of that component was of utmost importance, and a one-year deployment should be considered. Argentina also supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations that the new mission include a small military component.
EMYR JONES PARRY (United Kingdom), aligning himself with the European Union, welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal for a compact between the Timorese Government and the international community to reorient Timor-Leste’s national economic plan and to help build the capacity of State and Government institutions. In addition, it was essential to deal with the origins of the crisis, and to ensure free and fair elections. The proposal to review the security sector and to help build up the Timorese defence and police forces, was also endorsed. Indeed, reconstituting the police service was the core task, and he supported the establishment of a “blue-hatted” executive police force of an appropriate size within the new mission. But, because police forces outside Dili functioned reasonably well after the crisis, there was no need to create an international police force at 2001 levels. Also, a timetable was needed to map out the handing back of executive functions of the police service, as well as to plan for a draw down following the 2007 elections.
He said it was important to have an international stabilizing force in Timor-Leste in the short term, as a bridging measure. However, putting in place a mandate for a new United Nations force would be time-consuming and unnecessary, given the presence of partners on the ground currently there, and he welcomed cooperation between the international stabilization force with the United Nations mission. Also, it was unclear if a United Nations military liaison office to assist in border security operations was actually needed, since border tensions no longer seemed to be a source of instability. Finally, since the initial focus of the new mission should be on police services, it would be important for that mission to have strong leadership in that area.
He went on to say that the United Kingdom endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding justice and reconciliation, and that assistance should be provided to the Timorese to settle questions of human rights abuses and to provide redress for victims. A transitional justice unit working with the United Nations mission must take care to avoid potential duplication of work done by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), however. Finally, it was also important to include a public information component to the new mission, to help alleviate panic caused by rumour. He agreed with Mr. Martin’s concluding remarks on the need to send signals of continuing commitment to Timor-Leste until the job of the international community was done.
PASCAL GAYAMA ( Congo) said that, despite the regrettable events, there had been positive developments. Through the gradual return to peace and the swearing in of the new Government, the authorities and the people of Timor-Leste had shown a sense of responsibility. The work of the United Nations in that regard had been crucial, as had been the decisive action of international forces deployed by Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, which had been approved by the Government and the international community. The main challenge today was that of strengthening what had been achieved and sending strong signals to avoid repetition of past events. A new integrated and multinational mission was necessary. The structure as proposed was consistent with the wishes expressed by the Timorese Government.
He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations concerning justice and reconciliation, as well as other recommendations, including ensuring that the new mission had the required resources. The aim of the United Nations was to assist the new member of the international community and not to govern it. However, it was still the Organization’s responsibility to prevent further obstacles from impeding the Government’s work. Perpetrators of the crimes of April were now living in Indonesia, and discussions with that country should be initiated with the goal of ending impunity. Also, security for the upcoming elections should be ensured. The security dimension should not hide the need to counteract the causes of the crisis, which were poverty and unemployment. He, therefore, supported any proposal that would establish an international aid programme.
LIU ZHENMIN ( China) said it was with the help of the United Nations that Timor-Leste had achieved its independence and embarked on nation-building efforts. Therefore, the United Nations had special obligations to that country, particularly in helping it to maintain stability and achieve economic development. China was also of the view that the Government, political groups and other national bodies in Timor-Leste should hold a dialogue with one another to seek common ground and create favourable conditions for next year’s elections. In addition, the United Nations and the international community must draw up long-term plans of assistance for Timor-Leste, keeping in mind that the country had started from scratch and could not be expected to stand on its own overnight.
He said China supported the establishment of a multidimensional, comprehensive mission, as well as developing a compact between Timor-Leste and the international community. Indeed, to tackle the causes of the crisis at its roots, it was necessary to take in the views of the Timorese Government. Also, to improve security, it was imperative to deal with the widespread proliferation of weapons and to reorganize the police and military sector there. The international community should support the Timorese in developing good relations with their neighbours, and China had been pleased to see the country’s largest neighbours playing a calming role in the last crisis. The Commission of Truth and Friendship, too, should play its part in helping stabilize the situation in Timor-Leste. He said that China was playing its own part in achieving stability in that country by dispatching medical teams to help during times of crisis.
LARS FAABORG-ANDERSEN ( Denmark) said the security situation in Timor-Leste had been stabilized, thanks to the international troops and to recent reconciliation efforts and political progress. However, the country’s security and political situation remained fragile. It was clear that the future mission in Timor-Leste would need to be sufficiently large to effectively address urgent issues, such as the need for a United Nations police force, training of the national police and support for next year’s elections. There was also an urgent need for institutional support, particularly in the justice sector, the rapid implementation of quick-impact projects and sustainable economic development. Despite the increase in the international presence, it was important that the Timorese remained in the driver’s seat.
While strongly supporting the Secretary-General’s recommendations on the issues of human rights, and justice and reconciliation, he believed that international support and legitimacy provided to the bilateral Commission for Truth and Friendship should be conditioned on a revision of its amnesty clause. That clause, he said, was currently inconsistent with the requirement of international law that barred amnesty for its serious violations. The new mission should support efforts that ensured that justice would prevail for both past and future crimes, including those that had taken place earlier in the year. Many challenges remained, including addressing the root causes behind the recent violence.
KENZO OSHIMA ( Japan) welcomed the Secretary-General’s report, with his recommendations on the shape and mission mandate for a post-UNOTIL United Nations presence in Timor-Leste, in the aftermath of the recent turmoil of the country. While there had been some gains in promoting democratic institutions and governance since the independence of the country four years ago, the Government and society still faced enormous challenges, such as institution-building in the judicial field, establishment of rule of law, fighting poverty and dealing with the high degree of youth unemployment, which had contributed to the crisis and aggravated it once it had begun. Japan had itself sent a mission to Timor-Leste following the turmoil, issuing a report whose conclusions matched the Secretary-General’s assessment.
He said he did not believe the recent turmoil had occurred because of United Nations policy, which, in Japan’s view, had helped the Timorese make important gains within a relatively short period of time. However, that was not to say that the United Nations had been perfect in all its areas of involvement. There were obviously shortcomings, and it was important to recognize them and learn lessons from the experience. It was also importance not to try to reverse the transfer of responsibilities that had already taken place. Gradually handing responsibilities to the Government of Timor-Leste, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and other development partners should continue to be encouraged.
He went on to say that Japan promoted the conclusion of a compact between Timor-Leste and international development partners at the initiative of Timor-Leste. To ensure optimal coordination and cooperation among key participants under the concept, a mechanism such as a policy-consulting council would need to be considered. Finally, since UNOTIL’s mandate would expire on 20 August, the Council would need to agree on a resolution on a follow-on mission. Indeed, the Core Group countries on Timor-Leste had been discussing elements of the draft resolution based on the Secretary-General’s report, and Japan would continue to facilitate those discussions in its capacity as lead country. The aim was to adopt a draft resolution by week’s end.
MICHEL DUCLOS ( France) said Timor-Leste had been through a very difficult period in terms of security following the withdrawal of the United Nations presence. The crisis had led to the disintegration of the police force in Dili, and the situation of the police had been weakened in the provinces, as well. The Timorese society was more divided now than it had been following independence. That bitter information had led to the conclusion that there was a need for long-term recommitment by the United Nations to Timor-Leste.
He said he supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations, which were consistent with what was needed in terms of mandate and composition, and in line with the request made by the Government of Timor-Leste. Although his country was prepared to support a resolution, it would not establish its final position until the Minister of Foreign Affairs had been heard.
NASSIR ABUDLAZIZ AL-NASSER ( Qatar) said the recent chaos reflected the sensitive nature of the explosive situation, caused by economic and security factors. Timor-Leste, therefore, greatly needed the assistance of the international community. The crisis involved political, as well as historical, social and economic factors. The weakness of institutions had led to the crisis as well, and the wounds of the past had not yet healed. Unemployment also contributed to the difficulties.
He said the international response had been swift and positive. The international community had quickly provided economic assistance, but reform of political institutions was necessary to provide a new impetus in the country. The new United Nations mission would work side by side with the Government, and provide advice in rebuilding governmental institutions and establishing long-term plans to build a modern State. He supported the recommendations for establishing a mission for 12 months, until after the 2007 elections. The international community had learned an important lesson from the crisis; newly independent countries must not be abandoned in weakened political and economic situations.
VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said that it had been thanks to an international force comprising Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia that the situation in Timor-Leste had improved considerably. However, it was clear that conditions remained fragile. Many problems were far from being resolved, in particular the disarming of participants in the recent crisis, and the restoration of tens of thousands of displaced persons in the country. Given its own inadequate capacities, Timor-Leste required substantial and long-term support. Russia supported the establishment, for up to 12 months, of an integrated United Nations mission as outlined by the Secretary-General, including a strong police component to help support law and order and to create and strengthen the country’s own police force.
He said that additional priorities of the future mission should be to support national reconciliation, facilitate the upcoming election process, help to implement national strategies in economic policy and create a justice system and other State structures. Also, given the weakness of the Timorese armed forces, Russia supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to include a small military component within the mission.
ADAMANTIOS VASSILAKIS ( Greece) commended the immediate dispatch and deployment of defence and police forces by Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia in response to a request of the Timorese Government, but said that the root causes underlying the crisis -- youth unemployment and the unhealed wounds of the past -- could yet reappear. For that reason, a robust international security presence was needed. For the new mission to succeed, it should have a police force of considerable strength, backed by a small military force, under the command and control of the United Nations, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report.
He went on to say that bilateral arrangements to reinforce the internal security situation, though welcome in the short term, were not a viable long-term solution. The United Nations was in a unique position to help stabilize security in Timor-Leste, while, at the same time, providing aid for its economic development. There were already many United Nations agencies on the ground, helping national authorities in various humanitarian and development aid programmes; what needed upgrading was the level and quality of security provided. That could only be done by a new United Nations mission with police and military components, albeit relatively smaller in size in comparison with those that could be found in other parts of the world. Such an arrangement should respect Timorese ownership, and the Timorese Government should also provide the necessary security umbrella to other United Nations and humanitarian actors in the field.
JACKIE WOLCOTT SANDERS ( United States) said the Secretary-General’s recommendations took a comprehensive and detailed approach to addressing the root causes of the crisis in Timor-Leste. It was critical in building a democratic security sector that United Nations advisors work closely with the Ministries of Defence and Interior, in order to ensure that there was an integrated approach to the armed forces and police. She was not persuaded on the need for United Nations troops. Security concerns in Timor-Leste were internal. The international force was in place. Her country did support a strong United Nations police operation. Credible policing was only one element in restoring tranquillity and creating an atmosphere in which people felt safe to return home. The social and political issues at the root of the violence must also be addressed.
She agreed that there must be accountability for the crimes committed during last spring’s violence. She hoped that the Special Commission of Inquiry would address both individual and institutional accountability, as well as factors contributing to the violence, including allegations of illegal arms distribution by former and current officials. She also strongly supported reactivation of the Serious Crimes Unit to complete the investigation of the 1999 atrocities. The United Nations should also consider what assistance it might give to the judicial systems of Timor-Leste and Indonesia to bring to trial those who had been arrested since the Serious Crimes Panels had been closed. Reconciliation was a key element in responding to such crimes.
ROMY TINCOPA ( Peru) said her country supported efforts to halt the violence experienced by Timor-Leste, including the establishment of a multidimensional, integrated mission there. Peru further supported the presence of United Nations personnel in the country before, during and after the elections, as well as the establishment of a small military component in conjunction with the United Nations mission. It also supported the idea of a civilian component, such as a unit to provide assistance in political affairs, human rights, transitional justice, gender policies and joint operations.
She said that a gender unit for the civilian component of the future United Nations mission in Timor-Leste would be essential, and in line with the resolution on women, peace and security. Indeed, women needed to participate actively in promoting and maintaining peace, and a gender unit could help them participate in the country’s political decision-making. It was similarly important to have a human rights and transitional justice unit, to ensure that those responsible for crimes during past crises were punished, and to provide their victims with redress. In terms of justice and reconciliation, efforts carried out by Indonesia and Timor-Leste were commendable. It was important for both Governments to strengthen their judicial systems, so as to make it possible to try those responsible for human rights violations in 1999. Timor-Leste also needed help with its economic development, upon which its long-term success depended. Peru underscored the need for a compact between Timor-Leste and the international community to help the country redirect its national development plan to a more productive end.
DUSAN MATULAY ( Slovakia) noted with concern that the Timorese population was still suffering from the consequences of violence and destruction. Many of the elements that had given rise to the original crisis were still at work, while the crisis had created new potential sources of instability, including the large number of missing firearms. The country’s emerging institutions were still fragile. The upcoming elections, a crucial crossroad, would be of utmost importance for future stability and democratic development. Slovakia, therefore, fully recognized the need for the continuing involvement of the international community to assist the country in restoring order and building a democracy.
He said that, to meet the changed circumstances, a new international presence was needed in Timor-Leste. Slovakia supported the establishment of a new robust United Nations mission to consolidate gains already achieved in the country, help ensure political stability, support the 2007 elections and maintain public security. An important element of peacebuilding was fostering national reconciliation, and, in that regard, Slovakia noted with satisfaction that the United Nations Independent Special Commission of Inquiry had completed the first of two visits aimed at establishing the facts and circumstances relevant to the incidents of April. Slovakia highlighted the necessity of continued attention to the need for accountability regarding past human rights crimes in Timor-Leste.
Council President NANA EFFAH-APENTENG (Ghana), speaking in his national capacity, said that priority areas deserving close attention were the consolidation of democratic institutions, electoral support, national reconciliation, law and order, promotion and protection of human rights, humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation, poverty alleviation and the provision of basic services. Meeting those challenges effectively would require a combination of local initiative and international support, with the United Nations in the vanguard.
He said that, in trying to prune down the partnership between the international community and Timor-Leste, care must be taken to strike the right balance, taking into account the lessons learned from the disturbances that had broken out in Dili on 28 April. At the same time, international support could not be a substitute for the determination and commitment of the Government and people of Timor-Leste to build a united, democratic and prosperous nation of their own. Therefore, maximum effort must be exerted to develop local capacity as quickly as possible.
Ghana supported the call for a robust United Nations police, military and civilian mission that would guarantee law and order, pending the reorganization and restructuring of the Timorese police and armed forces, he said. In addition to security-sector reforms and institutional capacity-building, the highest priority must be accorded to the delivery of basic services, such as health, education, water and sanitation, as well as the creation of meaningful livelihood opportunities, especially for the youth. The idea of a Timorese-led compact should define the depth of engagement between the international community and Timor-Leste
JOSE LUIS GUTERRES, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, conveyed the people’s gratitude to the troop-contributing countries -- Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal -– for having so promptly and efficiently re-established and maintained law and order, and saved many Timorese lives. The Secretary-General’s report had been a product of wide consultation in Timor-Leste, and he concurred with its recommendations, which coincided with the spirit of letters by the President and key leaders sent to the Secretary-General. The events of April and May had revealed the institutional failures of the security forces and the fragility of democratic institutions. They had also revealed an acute need for continued long-term international assistance to the building of viable State institutions, notably in the areas of security, justice and development.
He said a holistic approach to security sector reform would be required. International advisory support would be vital in reviewing the future role and needs of the defence sector. In the area of justice, the funds made available under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Justice Support Programme were not sufficient to cover the provisions of support needed for the Office of the Prosecutor-General. Also, a significant number of human rights officers were needed to support national institutions, such as the Office of the Provedor and the National Parliament, in monitoring, promoting and protecting human rights.
It was of vital importance that the international community remained engaged in fostering the genuine commitment to justice and human rights that existed in the Government, in civil society and among the Timorese people. The Government would expeditiously search for a solution to the grievances of the 594 petitioners, by way of the recently invigorated national Commission of Investigation. A strong international police presence would be vital to performing executive policing functions. The Government was committed to upholding a free, fair and credible electoral process, and called on the international community to assist that process, including through technical and logistical support.
He said Timor-Leste was one of the poorest countries in the world. Poverty, high urban unemployment and the absence of any prospect of employment opportunities, especially for young people, had also contributed to the crisis. The new mission should, therefore, also provide assistance in the design of poverty-reduction and economic-growth policies and strategies. The approved 2006-2007 budget represented an increase of 122 per cent, compared to the last fiscal year. The budget was pro-poor and pro-job creation. He hoped that, with the combination of the better economic and social policies and continuing international support in all areas, today’s crisis could be overcome.
While acknowledging differences of opinion among Member States, he hoped that the seriousness of the situation would be considered. “The recent crisis in Timor-Leste has evoked great sadness and soul searching among ourselves, and has led to deep and honest reflection on the solutions for the difficult challenges confronting us today.” He appealed to the Council to work with the Government to ensure that Timor-Leste would not relapse into conflict again. The Secretary-General’s recommendations, including a small United Nations force, were the best option with which to face the current crisis in Timor-Leste, and he hoped that, with help of the international community, his country would have a future of peace and development.
KIRSTI LINTONEN (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that, two months ago, sporadic violence, arson, looting and gang clashes had been continuing, and the direction of events still seemed unclear. Since then, the overall security situation had been stabilized, and the emergency phase had passed. It was, however, wrong to believe that the situation in Timor-Leste was now stable. Tensions remained, and the humanitarian needs of a considerable part of the population were still unmet. Over 150,000 people were internally displaced and many refused to return home. Numerous weapons remained unaccounted for and were presumed to be under the control of both individuals and organized groups. The underlying factors of the crisis, which were far from resolved, must be addressed, and the Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste would have a significant role in helping carry out that work.
She said the European Union also underlined the demand for justice and accountability for the serious crimes committed in 1999, and welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendations aiming at the completion of investigations into outstanding serious crimes cases and concerning the need for reconciliation and community healing. The presidential and parliamentary elections of 2007 were also important in terms of political and national reconciliation.
The goal of the international community was to support Timor-Leste in consolidating public order and pursuing reconciliation between all stakeholders at all levels of society, she continued. It was obvious that the United Nations would have a central role in that process. The views of the Timorese Government and those expressed by the Secretary-General should be among the guiding factors when deciding upon the size and form of the future United Nations mission after UNOTIL’s mandate expired. It was essential, however, that the core functions of the new multidimensional and integrated United Nations mission avoid any unnecessary overlap with present United Nations agencies and other development partners already there.
KEDVIN CHEOK ( Singapore) said nation-building was a delicate process, and Timor-Leste’s recent troubles were a vivid reminder that reverses were possible. However, setbacks should be taken in stride, as there had rarely been a case of smooth sailing in nation-building. The Secretary-General’s report had rightfully identified priority areas: ensuring security and stability was crucial; police and defence forces must be rebuilt; there was a need for political reconciliation; and the country would need electoral support for the 2007 elections. Having both a large United Nations police presence and a smaller military component was essential, as those two components would contribute to the restoration of stability, law and order, until the Timorese were ready fully to reassume those roles.
He said there was a need to help the country put in place conditions to allow for its development as a stable and cohesive nation. There was also a need for assistance in capacity-building for its institutions and people, which would be a long-term commitment. The United Nations had been at the core of those efforts since Timor-Leste’s independence and would remain at the core of such efforts over the next few years. “If we get this right, we can all look forward to a brighter future for Timor-Leste.”
JOAO SALGUEIRO (Portugal) said his country’s position involved three elements: respecting the sovereignty and political independence of Timor-Leste; welcoming the Secretary-General’s assessment and recommendations, as contained in his report; and Portugal’s deep bilateral commitment to Timor-Leste as the young nation’s largest donor, focusing on areas including justice, education, health, social protection, police, armed forces, customs and finance.
He said that, although the overall situation had stabilized, Timor-Leste still faced serious security and humanitarian repercussions of the crisis. Thousands of weapons were unaccounted for and could be used in further actions of violent destabilization. In addition, 150,000 people had been internally displaced. Only the United Nations could successfully lead efforts to facilitate political dialogue and reconciliation, restoring and maintaining security, and ensuring that the 2007 elections would be peaceful, free and fair. While Portugal would review the current bilateral arrangement regarding the presence of its gendarmerie force in Timor-Leste, with a view to placing it and other elements under United Nations command, it would be difficult to accept any solution that ignored Timorese sovereignty and past lessons concerning the need for a clear chain of command and adequate security for United Nations personnel.
Welcoming the establishment of the Special Inquiry Commission, he said that the demand for justice and accountability for the serious crimes committed in 1999 remained a fundamental issue in the lives of many Timorese. Portugal also welcomed recommendations aimed at the completion of investigations into outstanding serious cases. Impunity was a major obstacle to long-lasting social reconciliation and political stability. Attacks on key Timorese judicial institutions, and concerns regarding the potential loss of vital records and security implications for victims and witnesses, demonstrated that much remained to be done in that regard.
REZLAN ISHAR JENIE ( Indonesia) said his country continued to follow the situation in Timor-Leste closely and support fully its advances in political dialogue and community reconciliation, particularly by addressing the underlying causes of the recent crisis. Indonesia had demonstrated its commitment to helping Timor-Leste to address the crisis, including by providing humanitarian aid. As its closest neighbour, Indonesia was very much interested to see a stable, prosperous and democratic Timor-Leste.
He said it was the responsibility of the international community to continue to assist the country to achieve self-sufficiency. In creating a new mission, the United Nations should draw lessons from what had or had not worked in the previous missions and identify new priorities in view of the recent crisis. However, the mission’s work should also be built upon achievements made so far in Timor-Leste.
The Governments of Indonesia and Timor-Leste were committed to resolving residual problems of the past, he said. The two countries had agreed to settle the reported 1999 human rights violations in East Timor. The Commission of Truth and Friendship had been established in 2005, which, in implementing its mandate, was guided by the principles of transparency and credibility. The Commission had agreed on a creative interpretation of various provisions in its terms of reference, including the one on amnesty.
He said the Commission had identified 14 groups of priority cases. They consisted of high-profile cases; events that continued to be emotional in the Timor-Leste’s collective memory; cases that reflected crimes as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute; and cases referred to in the final report of the Indonesian National Commission of Inquiries of Human Rights Violations in East Timor in 1999. Indonesia had strong confidence in the Commission’s work and was very much committed to ensuring its credibility.
PIRAGIBE TARRAGO ( Brazil) said that, whenever a United Nations presence was shortened for budgetary reasons or by means of artificial timeframes, it had led to bad experiences. The drawing down of peacekeeping operations must take into account the real progress made in recovering from conflict and in building institutions. Indeed, the precipitous decision to leave Timor-Leste might have contributed to the security troubles of the past few months. Further, not paying proper attention to national ownership in the peacekeeping and peacebuilding processes had been another mistake. For the future mission to be effective, it must respect Timorese sovereignty.
He said the mission must be endowed with a clear mandate and adequate means to fulfil it, since depriving the mission of the necessary personnel, financial or other means would hamstring its ability to discharge its mandate, and probably entail further suffering in the future. Brazil was also concerned at a tendency to transfer the responsibilities of the United Nations and the Security Council to individual countries. While such expediency might help in emergencies, it carried many risks, ranging from an association of the United Nations with condoning “trusteeship”, to the prejudice caused to the body’s image as a neutral and impartial provider of assistance. It was critical for the Council’s credibility that the new mission be established in full agreement with the Timorese authorities, and that it report to the Council periodically.
New peacekeeping operations, he said, must comprise elements in all areas, including a civilian component with a strong electoral unit, a police component capable of ensuring public safety and a small military unit under United Nations command and control. For its part, Brazil was considering the possibility of contributing troops, alongside contributions to the operation’s other aspects. Finally, Timorese efforts for reconciliation and their search for justice should be acknowledged.
LAURO L. BAJA, JR. (Philippines), stressing that Timor-Leste’s ownership must be ensured in any peacebuilding plan for the country, endorsed the country’s wish for the establishment of a new, multidimensional and integrated United Nations peacekeeping mission. The root causes that had precipitated the latest crisis should also be addressed. That crisis had been a complex one, with political, institutional, historical, social and economic dimensions. Foremost, among solutions to problems in those areas was assistance in building and strengthening State institutions. Progress in that area could have been maintained if the United Nations presence in Timor-Leste had not prematurely been drawn down.
There was a need to reinvest time, effort and resources in Timor-Leste, he said. Ultimately, however, the future of Timor-Leste depended on the Timorese themselves. Having gained their hard-won independence, they should now get their act together, which meant maintaining meaningful dialogue among national players, easing factional disagreements, finding employment for the youth and developing new orientations and values that would promote tolerance and openness. Timor-Leste was a prime candidate to be considered in the Peacebuilding Commission, he said. Despite the events of the past months, the country was still one of the best examples of a successful international enterprise engineered through the combined cooperative efforts of the United Nations, regional players and partners. The international community should continue to make Timor-Leste a success story.
HAMIDON ALI ( Malaysia) said nation-building and reconciliation was a highly complex and sensitive matter, while the formation of a sustainable democratic State required a higher level of maturity by the Timorese. In that regard, Malaysia hoped that Timorese leaders would emphasize the rights of the population. The Council was to be commended for supporting the deployment of the international security force that had played a significant role in maintaining peace and security in the country. As it prepared to re-engage in Timor-Leste through a follow-up mission, it was crucial that the quality and duration of the international presence be improved. To that end, Malaysia supported the establishment of a multidimensional and integrated peacekeeping mission, which would prioritize the long-term needs of the people of Timor-Leste.
He remarked on the urgency of the request for a civilian component, with a police force of considerable strength and backed by a small military force under United Nations control and command. Currently, the Royal Malaysian Police continued to deploy a formed police unit of up to 250 personnel under a bilateral agreement, and Malaysia was ready to make available up to 140 police personnel for the new mission. It also looked forward to the adoption of a comprehensive resolution to meet the urgent needs of Timor-Leste.
MARIA DE FATIMA LIMA DA VEIGA ( Cape Verde) said her country had shared historical and cultural ties with Timor-Leste and had supported the Timorese struggle for independence. The root causes of the crisis still had to be tackled. That was a prerequisite for nation-building and holding elections, and she encouraged all stakeholders to speed up processes in that regard. Steady support from the international community was also much needed and, as part of the international effort to restore normalcy, she commended the role of the troop-contributing countries. However, the situation required that the current situation be reviewed. Her country supported a robust, multidisciplinary mission with a small military component, which would be instrumental in consolidating peace and stability.
She hoped that the Secretary-General’s recommendations would get the Council’s support and that the mission would be given the means to successfully carry out its mandate. The political determination of the Timorese authorities in launching long-term plans to reinforce the major progress achieved in State-building and meeting the challenges in the political, economic, judicial and social sectors were to be commended. She welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendations on enforcing security and promoting development.
RODRIGO MALMIERCA DIAZ ( Cuba) said the current situation in Timor-Leste was the result of structural underdevelopment and a telling case of the disastrous consequences of colonialism and exclusion from the international order. When it came to situations in Timor-Leste and other third-world countries, the United Nations paid attention exclusively to security issues, while ignoring structural, economic and social problems. Indeed, the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment was essential to keep peace and security at the international level.
He said genuine international cooperation with Timor-Leste, based on respect for its sovereignty, was the one way to achieve conflict prevention and peace consolidation. The international community had a moral obligation to assist the country in achieving sustainable socio-economic development, and must assume serious commitment to help its Government in human-resource training and in creating the infrastructure it needed.
He said Cuban cooperation with Timor-Leste was carried out primarily in health care, where treatment was provided to over 400,000 patients, concerning 3,620 births, 2,198 surgical operations, 7,496 vaccinations and over 6,000 saved lives. The Cuban medical brigade consisted of 274 health co-operators, who also taught and were directors of recently opened schools of medicine, having begun its classes in December 2005 with 60 students. As a complement to that effort, 470 youth from Timor-Leste studied in Cuba, some of whom were preparing to begin their medical studies. What Cuba was doing was an example of how much could be achieved in that country with international cooperation. Certainly, more could be done for Timor-Leste by the United Nations and, hopefully, immediate strategies would be set up in accordance with the real needs of the people of Timor-Leste.
ROSEMARY BANKS ( New Zealand) said the Secretary-General’s recommendations provided a very sound blueprint for United Nations engagement with Timor-Leste in the coming years. Even though the security situation in Timor-Leste had begun to stabilize, international assistance would be required for some time. The stability achieved had allowed for initial steps to be taken towards political and social reconciliation. Against that background, her country wholeheartedly endorsed the report’s emphasis on a “sustained commitment and a coordinated approach”. That commitment should be articulated by giving the new United Nations mission an extended initial mandate, together with a strong affirmation that that mandate must be renewed. The new Special Representative would need flexibility in his use of resources and must convey a sense of vision and authority to the Government and people of Timor-Leste.
She said the failures of the Timorese defence and police forces were interconnected, and she, therefore, welcomed the call for a holistic review of the security sector, encompassing reform of both defence and police. Her country was comfortable with the recommendations regarding military support for the new United Nations mission. Consensus had not emerged around those matters. However, from the perspective of her country, as one of the contributors to the current stabilisation force, it was important that the military presence in Timor-Leste, however it evolved, must enjoy broad-based support and clearly recognized international legitimacy.
She expressed concern that the number of police being sought was too great. She said the United Nations police would have a short-term role in frontline policing, but she hoped they would be able to move quickly to working with the Timor-Leste National Police Force, aiding in its reform and recovery. The placing of United Nations police in frontline policing positions, and then gradually increasing the numbers of national police patrolling alongside them would not of itself lead to the creation of a new and robust PNTL. That process had been relied on in the past and had failed. The rebuilding of the Timor-Leste National Police Force must be a deliberate process based on one training model and led by police trainers from a single bilateral partner.
She said the recommendations concerning justice and human rights were of crucial importance. It was also vital to address the problems confronting the day to day functioning of the criminal justice system. As part of its work on institutional capacity-building and governance, the mission must encourage the full functioning of Government, including the justice sector, in both official languages –- Portuguese and Tetun.
ROBERT HILL (Australia) said that, in addition to dispatching troops and police to Timor-Leste, Australia had contributed $A8 million to address humanitarian aspects of the crisis, and had provided over $A450 million in development assistance since 1999. It would continue to provide an estimated $A43 million during 2006 and 2007, and would focus on strengthening governance institutions, including law and justice, public administration and public-sector financial management, as well as improving delivery of services to rural populations. Also, it stood ready to contribute to a new United Nations mission in Timor-Leste.
He said that, as a neighbour, Australia had a vital interest in ensuring that Timor-Leste developed as a stable democracy. The United Nations must also play a robust role there, in particular to assist the country in resolving its political difficulties. Proposals to provide electoral assistance ahead of the 2007 elections were welcomed, and such assistance should go towards helping Timor-Leste establish electoral institutions that were politically neutral, independent and professional.
He said the security task, for the future, was primarily a law and order one, to be addressed by civilian police. However, Australia accepted that, for some time, there would be a need for military back-up to the police and for additional security for United Nations personnel, given the significant number of high-powered weapons remaining unaccounted for. While Australia was gradually drawing down its military force of 2,000 in Timor-Leste as conditions improved, it would, nevertheless, be prepared to continue providing forces for purposes of the new mission. The advantages of the Australian offer were flexibility; a force familiar with the environment; and reduced cost to the United Nations. Also, it was important that the Council provide authority under Chapter VII to enable the effective functioning of forces.
LUIS DE MATOS DA FONSECA, Executive Secretary of the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, said that, on 18 June, his organization’s Council of Ministers had convened an emergency meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, and had adopted a political declaration that endorsed the request of the Timorese authorities for the establishment of a new United Nations mission, with police, military and civil components. The organization’s Sixth Conference of Heads of State and Government, held in Guinea-Bissau on 17 July, had reiterated the right of Timor-Leste to the full exercise of its national sovereignty in all aspects, with the aim of building its future in peace, independence and without any restraints or limitations. The report of the Secretary-General expressed the positions of the Council of Ministers of the Portuguese-speaking countries.
He said the reform of the security sectors was a crucial task, requiring the coordination of efforts to reform those sectors. The report had fully recognized the need for better training of the police, the strengthening of its operational independence and internal accountability, as well as the need for credible, independent, civilian oversight of its operations. The Portuguese-speaking Member States would consider a strong participation in the provision of assistance to that particular sector.
Sustainable economic development must also be a central element in the mission’s mandate, he said, as poverty, high unemployment and the lack of foreseeable opportunities had been underlying causes of the conflict. He hoped that oil revenues would allow the Government to enter a large-scale programme of development of infrastructures that would contribute to reductions in unemployment. Human rights and justice, institutional capacity-building and good governance, gender questions and public information were central issues in the mandate of the mission.
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