Security Council, The situation in Timor-Leste - Statement by Ambassador J.F. Moraes Cabral, Permanent Representative to United Nations - New York, 19 February 2009
First of all, we would like to thank you, Mr. President, for convening this meeting. Portugal welcomes the opportunity to participate again in the Council’s deliberations.
I extend to His Excellency President José Ramos Horta a very cordial and warm greeting. I thank him for his presence today and for his laudable efforts for the cause of peace, reconciliation, democracy and development of Timor-Leste. We are very happy to see him fully recovered.
Portugal naturally concurs with the statement delivered by the President of the EU. But allow me to raise some points on my national capacity, as the representative of a country that has a shared History with Timor-Leste for nearly 500 years.
Portugal praises the encouraging progresses achieved in the last year in Timor-Leste. The leaders and the people of Timor-Leste have made remarkable progress in overcoming the most visible reminders of the 2006 crisis. The majority of the internal displaced persons have returned to their homes, the petitioners from FDTL were reintegrated into civilian life and the continuing stable security environment is a credit to Timor-Leste’s determination to create conducive conditions for long term peace, stability and development.
I also take this opportunity to commend the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Dr. Atul Khare and all UNMIT staff, for their tireless work. UNMIT continues to play a critical role in assisting Timor-Leste and we fully support a decision by this Council to extend its mandate for an additional period of 12 months at the current composition and strength levels.
Portugal recognizes the underlying challenges still to be settled: poverty and unemployment, urban centers struggling with migration, lack of an effective land and property regime, along with a judicial system that needs to be strengthened and security institutions requiring further capacity and training.
Dialogue is central in addressing these issues, as it is in ensuring unity of effort, if not broad consensus, in matters of national concern. Portugal is encouraged by President Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Gusmão’s efforts in this sense and urges all the Timorese major political groupings to pursue a constructive political dialogue, thus contributing to meet the country’s challenges.
Along with others, Portugal considers that long term security and stability will depend on the capacity of the Timorese Security Institutions to function in an effective, responsible and accountable way, with due respect for the rule of law and benefitting from public confidence and support. Further efforts are needed to ensure a clear articulation of strategies and plans within and across State Institutions. A clear vision of the relationship between the Defense Force, Falintil-FDTL and the National Police is crucial. Also, we share the view that additional steps should be taken to facilitate the coordination of the international community’s support, including bilateral partners.
Portugal encourages the Government of Timor-Leste to continue working with UNMIT on the process of resumption of police executive responsibilities. Portugal fully agrees with the recommendation contained in the SG’s Report on the need for a continued robust UNMIT police presence across the country, both to support the hand-over of responsibilities and to help guaranteeing public security while that process is under way. We note that the challenges facing the Police in Timor-Leste should not be underestimated and will take several years to address. The resumption of responsibilities by the national institution is only one step, indeed an important one, but also one that marks the beginning of a new phase for which the commitment of the Government and the support of the international community will prove essential.
Portugal also welcomes the Government’s commitment to obtain an independent assessment of the needs of the judicial sector. We are ready to support, with other partners, all efforts to achieve national ownership on the entire rule of law system.
I would like to assure the Council that Portugal remains deeply engaged in supporting Timor-Leste in her efforts to consolidate democracy and development, both as a sister-country within the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries and as a major development partner of my country in a number of significant areas.