It is a tremendous pleasure to congratulate the people of Timor-Leste on the tenth anniversary of the restoration of independence. I offer my warmest wishes on this important occasion.
Timor-Leste has made impressive advances over the past decade. National institutions, virtually non-existent ten years ago, now play crucial roles in safeguarding stability and democracy. Parliament serves as a dynamic forum for political debate, thanks to the constructive participation of both governing and opposition parties. Successive Governments have taken concrete 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. As the recent presidential election showed, both the national police and the armed forces are now increasingly able to perform their respective tasks. And where once the country was a recipient of peacekeeping assistance, today it contributes personnel to our efforts to maintain peace and security around the world – a welcome “graduation” indeed.
The people of Timor-Leste should be proud of these many achievements. They have shown unswerving resolve in overcoming great challenges. The nation’s leaders have shown wisdom and responsibility in guiding the country through testing times.
I congratulate the new President of Timor-Leste, His Excellency Taur Matan Ruak, on his inauguration today. I wish him every success as the country continues to consolidate stability, foster democratic governance and promote development. I also offer deep appreciation to the outgoing President, His Excellency José Ramos-Horta, who guided Timor-Leste through many difficult moments, promoting peace, reconciliation and national unity.
The peaceful conduct of the presidential election is testament to the country’s progress. I call on all Timorese leaders and political parties to demonstrate the same commitment to peaceful parliamentary elections in July.
Today’s anniversary also marks another landmark in the productive partnership between Timor-Leste and the United Nations. For more than a decade now, the United Nations has worked side-by-side with the people of Timor-Leste, supporting the country’s efforts to build a strong and resilient State and promote sustainable peace and prosperity.
The successful presidential election is yet another encouraging sign that Timor-Leste is ready for a transition in its relationship with the United Nations. While the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste continues to prepare for its anticipated departure at the end of this year, let me assure you that the United Nations will remain steadfast in its support for many years to come. Peacekeepers may leave, but the United Nations remains your close partner in building a better future for all the country’s people.
Congratulations again on this milestone. Viva Timor-Leste!