Statement made by Ambassador José Filipe Moraes Cabral, PR of Portugal -- “The situation in Timor-Leste” / Security Council (New York, 10.26.2010)
Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the floor. We believe that the continued engagement of the SC is of utmost importance. I also wish to thank Ambassador Sofia Borges and Special Representative Ameerah Haq for their presentations, as well as the Secretary General for his comprehensive and valuable report.
Portugal naturally concurs with the statement delivered by the Acting Head of the European Union Delegation. As a representative of a country which has a long shared history with Timor-Leste and as active member of the core group I would however like to underline some specific points.
Portugal praises the encouraging achievements in Timor-Leste during this reporting period and the continuing stable environment as a credit to Timor-Leste’s determination to long term peace, stability and development.
In assessing these achievements, it is important to acknowledge how far Timor-Leste has come in the few short years since its independence, but it is equally important not to loose sight of the significant challenges that still remain ahead. Elections scheduled to take place in 2012 will test the capacity and the resilience of Timor–Leste’s national institutions and the progress made towards a stable democratic political environment and culture.
We are aware of the profound social and economic challenges still faced by Timor-Leste in terms of fighting poverty, building an economy that extends beyond oil and ensuring that the young timorese will have the skills, training and opportunities that they need to take charge of their future. Problems such as slow agricultural development, youth underemployment and lack of human resources are hampering the recovery and reconstruction process and having a fundamental repercussion on the social cohesion of Timor-Leste. These issues must be taken very seriously in the near future.
On the other hand it is encouraging that continued advances were made in all of UNMIT’s four mandated areas, including dialogue initiatives on critical national issues, the achievements on the resumption of primary policing responsibilities by the National Police, the promulgation of the national security legislative package, the adoption of the Justice Sector Strategic Plan and last but not least the presentation of the Strategic Development Plan. Further efforts are however required to overcome the political, institutional and socio-economic weaknesses that contributed to the events of 2006. The continued good offices of the SRSG will be crucial to facilitate the political dialogue with national political actors, as Timor-Leste approaches the next general elections which will be held by 2012.
Long term security and stability will also depend on the capacity of the Timorese institutions to function in an effective, responsible and accountable way, with due respect for the rule of law and benefiting from public confidence and support. To facilitate full and effective progress towards full reconstitution of the National Police a reinvigorated partnership between PNTL and UNMIT is required. A clear vision of the relationship between the Defense Force of Timor-Leste and the National Police, as well as of their respective tasks is also crucial. In this context, we reiterate that additional steps should be taken to facilitate the closest possible coordination of the international community’s support and bilateral donors.
However, no true progress will be achievable if the sustainable socio-economic development of the country is not made a priority. We support Timor-Leste Government in its continuing efforts to increase input into infra-structure development, education and vocational training, and we call on the international community to provide more assistance to the Government and Timorese people in those relevant fields.
We are aware that a number of fundamental issues will require sustained, long term attention well beyond the date of 2012. To this purpose Portugal welcomes the preparation of a strategy to guide the UNMIT’s transition beyond 2012. The consolidation of those goals requires sustained engagement and support from the international community, in full respect of the Timorese own choices regarding their country.
Portugal remains fully engaged in supporting Timor-Leste, and remains a major bilateral donor in a wide spectrum of areas, including governance and public administration, justice, education and security sector reform, and by contributing over 200 police officers and military liaison officers to UNMIT, and fully supporting all areas under the responsibility of the Mission.
The people of Timor-Leste have repeatedly shown their resolve to build a peaceful, democratic and stable society. To that end we will keep up an engagement of solidarity with the Timorese and we encourage and support Ameerah Haq and the entire team of the United Nations integrated Mission in carrying out their invaluable work.
I thank you.