SC/7192 4403rd & 4404th Meetings (AM & PM)
31 October 2001
COUNCIL ENDORSES PROPOSAL TO DECLARE EAST TIMOR’S INDEPENDENCE 20 MAY 2002
Presidential Statement Welcomes Political Progress, Agrees on Potential Destabilizing Impact of Premature International Withdrawal
The Security Council this afternoon welcomed the political progress achieved to date towards establishing an independent East Timorese State, and endorsed the recommendation by the Constituent Assembly of the Territory that independence be declared on 20 May 2002.
In a statement read out by its President, Brian Cowan, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland, in the second of two meetings on East Timor today, the Council also agreed with the Secretary-General’s assessment that premature withdrawal of the international presence in East Timor could have a destabilizing effect in a number of crucial areas.
The Council further concurred with the Secretary-General’s assessment that the United Nations should remain engaged in East Timor to protect the major achievements realized so far by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), to build upon those achievements in cooperation with other actors and to assist the East Timorese Government in ensuring security and stability.
The Council endorsed the Secretary-General’s plans for adjusting the mission’s size and configuration in the months prior to independence. It also endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a continued and appropriately reduced United Nations integrated mission in the post-independence period, and asked him to continue the planning and preparation of that mission, in consultation with the East Timorese people.
The Council agreed that the successor mission would be headed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and would consist of military, civilian police and civilian components, as well as experts who would provide crucial assistance to the emergent East Timorese population. It also agreed that the new mission should be based on the premise that operational responsibilities should be devolved to the East Timorese authorities as soon as that was feasible. It supported a continuing process of assessment and downsizing of that mission over a two-year period, starting from independence.
Briefing the Council in the first meeting, Mr. De Mello said that UNTAET was now clearly a mission in support of a Government which was taking all administrative decisions.
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He said that one of the most onerous present tasks was drafting a budget fitted to limited means as the number of international personnel was reduced in East Timor. The support provided by the current mission, with its budget roughly 10 times that of the national one, would simply not be sustained after independence. Before independence, the negative impact of that adjustment must be minimized, and the continuation of critical functions must be assured after the UNTAET mandate came to an end.
Any failure of the public administration, he said, would be a failure of the United Nations, so the job needed to be completed. The imminent UNTAET success, now widely predicted, stood a much greater chance if the Transitional Administration was allowed to exit with a strategy. The Secretary-General had proposed such a strategy, he added.
Mari Alkatiri, Chief Minister of the Second Transitional Government of East Timor, stressed the importance of institution-building and the gradual transfer of administrative functions to East Timorese civil servants. He asked the Council to provide the necessary human, material and financial resources that would demonstrate the success of the United Nations and the international community. That success should translate into the entrenchment of the democratic State, with all the requisite and functional institutions to ensure the rule of law.
Indonesia’s representative said his country was looking forward to holding a high-level bilateral meeting in the near future on ways to resolve outstanding issues and establish a sound basis for future relations. Another development in that unfolding relationship was the conclusion of a bilateral agreement in Atambua last weekend concerning the demilitarization of the borders, thereby facilitating free and open visits by the Indonesian and East Timorese peoples. That would entail the withdrawal of foreign troops currently deployed at the borders as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force.
As 33 other speakers addressed the Council in the first meeting today, many of them praised the Secretary-General’s report for its careful, well-balanced nature and expressed wide support for its recommendations, including those on scaling down the mission in East Timor.
A number of speakers also called for funding through assessed rather than voluntary contributions. Others underscored that success in East Timor would increase the prestige and standing of the Organization. It was also emphasized that the real needs of East Timor must be taken into account when prescribing the size, reach and scope of the successor mission. Regional institutions and other multilateral organizations were called on to back up the United Nations, while it was repeatedly stressed that the international presence in the territory should wind down slowly. The theme of “exit with a strategy” was another key issue that many speakers focused on today.
Mats Karlsson, Vice-President, External Affairs, World Bank, and Zephirin Diabré, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) addressed the Council as well today.
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Statements were also made by the representatives of Singapore, Jamaica, China, France, Russian Federation, Mauritius, United Kingdom, United States, Mali, Norway, Colombia, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Ireland, Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), Portugal, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Philippines, Fiji, Brazil, Cambodia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Mozambique and Mexico.
The first meeting, which began at 10:46
a.m., was suspended at 1:24 p.m., resumed at 3:16 p.m. and adjourned at
The second meeting, which began at 5:56 p.m., was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
The full text of presidential statement S/PRST/2001/32 reads as follows:
“The Security Council welcomes the Secretary-General’s report of 18 October 2001 (S/2001/983).
“The Security Council expresses its appreciation to the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in East Timor and to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) for their efforts in developing detailed plans for the future United Nations presence in East Timor.
“The Security Council welcomes the political progress achieved to date towards establishing an independent East Timorese State and endorses the recommendations by the Constituent Assembly that independence be declared on 20 May 2002.
“The Security Council recalls resolutions 1272 (1999) of 25 October 1999 and 1338 (2001) of 31 January 2001 and other relevant resolutions. It agrees with the Secretary General’s assessment that premature withdrawal of the international presence could have a destabilizing effect in a number of crucial areas. It further agrees with the Secretary-General’s assessment that the United Nations should remain engaged in East Timor to protect the major achievements so far realized by UNTAET, to build upon those achievements in cooperation with other actors, and to assist the East Timorese Government in ensuring security and stability.
“The Security Council takes note of the Secretary-General’s observation that the mandate of UNTAET should be extended until independence and endorses his plans for adjusting the size and configuration of UNTAET in the months prior to independence.
“The Security Council endorses the Secretary-General’s recommendations for a continued and appropriately reduced United Nations integrated mission in the post-independence period, and requests the Secretary-General to continue planning and preparation for this mission, in consultation with the East Timorese people, and to submit further and more detailed recommendations to the Council. The Council agrees that the successor mission would be headed by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General and consist of a military component, a civilian police
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component and a civilian component, including experts who would provide crucial assistance to the emergent East Timorese administration. The Council notes that a core number of civilian positions will be critical to the stability of the independent East Timorese Government and agrees that these limited positions will require assessed funding for a period of between six months and two years after independence. The Council agrees that the new mission should be based on the premise that operational responsibilities should be devolved to the East Timorese authorities as soon as this is feasible, and it supports a continuing process of assessment and downsizing over a period of two years, starting from independence. In this regard, the Council recognizes the essential role of the General Assembly in peace-building and expresses its intention to continue planning for peace-building in close cooperation with the General Assembly. The Council acknowledges the importance of a strong focus on justice and human rights in the successor mission and, where appropriate, in other assistance provided to East Timor.
“The Security Council agrees with the Secretary-General’s assessment that it will be vital that the United Nations contribution is supplemented by multilateral and bilateral arrangements. The Council looks forward to receiving information on the financial implications of the follow-on mission and a detailed assessment of shared responsibilities among the principal interacting players, i.e., the United Nations system, international financial institutions, regional mechanisms and national donors in their efforts to assist East Timor in its unprecedented transition to self-government.”
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When the Security Council met this morning to consider the situation in East Timor, it had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and a related corrigendum (documents S/2001/983 and Corr.1).
The General Assembly placed East Timor on its list of Non-Self-Governing Territories in 1960. At that time, Portugal was its administering Power. In 1974, Portugal withdrew and Indonesia intervened and later declared East Timor its twenty-seventh province. The United Nations never recognized this annexation, and both the Security Council and the Assembly called for Indonesia’s withdrawal.
Beginning in 1982, successive Secretaries-General held regular talks with Indonesia and Portugal to resolve the Territory’s status. A set of agreements between Indonesia and Portugal was signed in New York on 5 May 1999, which entrusted the Secretary-General with organizing a “popular consultation” to ascertain the East Timorese response to a proposal for special autonomy for the Territory within Indonesia.
To carry out the consultation, the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) was established on 11 June 1999. On 30 August 1999, some 78.5 per cent of East Timorese voters opted to reject the proposed autonomy and begin a process of transition towards independence. Following the announcement of the result, pro-integration militias, supported by elements of the Indonesian security forces, launched a campaign of violence. The Indonesian authorities did not respond effectively to the violence, and many East Timorese were killed or displaced from their homes. A multinational force—INTERFET—was authorized by the Council, and eventually restored order.
On 19 October 1999, the Indonesian People’s Consultative Assembly formally recognized the result of the consultation, and on 25 October the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) was established (Security Council resolution 1272 (1999)). The UNTAET was mandated to provide security and maintain law and order throughout the Territory; to establish an effective administration; to assist in the development of civil and social services; to coordinate and deliver humanitarian, rehabilitation and development assistance; to support capacity-building for self-government; and to assist in the establishment of conditions for sustainable development.
Immediately following the establishment
of UNTAET, the mission established its headquarters in Dili and began the
deployment of personnel. The handover of command of military operations
from INTERFET to UNTAET was completed on 28 February.
On 16 March, Sergio Vieira de Mello, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in East Timor and head of UNTAET, announced that East Timor had scheduled its first democratic elections for 30 August to elect the 88-member Constituent Assembly that would draft a constitution. Mr. Vieira de Mello made the announcement after signing, in Dili, the regulation on the “Election of a Constituent Assembly to Prepare a Constitution for an Independent and Democratic East Timor”, which had been approved by the National Council on 13 March.
According to UNTAET, East Timor would elect a Constituent Assembly made up of one representative elected by each district on a majority basis and 75 members elected on a proportional basis. The elected Assembly would prepare and adopt a constitution for an independent and democratic East Timor in 90 days. The UNTAET also announced the establishment of an Independent Electoral Commission which would have exclusive electoral authority. It was composed of a Chief Electoral Officer and five voting Commissioners—two East Timorese and three internationally recognized experts - who were to be appointed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
On 30 August, in a calm and peaceful atmosphere, hundreds of thousands of East Timorese voted in the Territory’s first democratic elections, organized by the United Nations. On 6 September, UNTAET announced that the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) had captured a majority of 55 seats in the 88-member Constituent Assembly. The FRETILIN won 43 of the 75 national seats and 12 of the possible 13 district representative posts.
Mr. Vieira de Mello will now appoint the
second Transitional Government of East Timor, which will be formed and
will be headed by an all-Timorese Council of Ministers.
Report of Secretary-General
The report now before the Council documents developments in East Timor since the Secretary-General’s last report of 24 July 2001 (document S/2001/719), and describes progress made in planning for an international presence in East Timor after independence. During that period, the Council held a public briefing on 30 July, a private briefing on the preparations for the elections on 23 August, and a public briefing on 10 September on the successful conduct of the elections for the Constituent Assembly. It also held another public meeting on that same day and warmly welcomed the successful staging of the elections for East Timor’s first Constituent Assembly in a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2001/23).
The report is divided into three parts. The first contains an assessment of the progress made in the implementation of core elements of the UNTAET mandate, while the second provides an update on efforts to support economic and social development in East Timor. The third part outlines the proposed structure for the successor mission to UNTAET in East Timor after independence, as well as the resources required to complete the Security Council mandate.
The report states that, in considering the requirements of the successor mission to UNTAET, it bears repeating that UNTAET began its mandate two years ago in the aftermath of a thorough destruction of East Timor’s infrastructure and all institutions of government. The human resource base available in East Timor was limited by a history of scant opportunity and training and further depleted by the flight of many civil servants. Against this background, the mandate given by the Security Council in resolution 1272 (1999) to establish a national civil administration, assist in the development of civil and social services, and support capacity-building for self-government was unprecedented in scope.
In a recent report to the Security Council entitled “No exit without strategy: Security Council decision-making and the closure or transition of United Nations peacekeeping operations” (document S/2001/394), the Secretary-General noted the importance of bringing to fruition the achievements of a peacekeeping operation, adding that “The essential requirement in the case of East Timor is to ensure that the enormous sacrifices of the East Timorese, the substantial investments of the international community, and the cooperation of the parties required to bring about a successful transition to independence are not squandered for lack of international attention and support for the new State.” At the same time, he stressed that it was important to “move towards a normal development assistance framework as quickly as was responsibly possible”.
The current report also states that, in a note (S/2001/905) prepared in response to the report on exit strategies, the President of the Council agreed that a major criterion for the Council’s decisions on the scaling down or withdrawal of a peacekeeping operation is the successful completion of its mandate. Council members undertook to give consideration to the related questions or concerns identified in the report.
The Secretary-General states that he, therefore, submits to the Council for its consideration and approval the proposals contained in section IV of his current report on the successor mission. This section covers transition; a plan for the successor mission; the military component; and the civilian police component. Mindful of the desirability of relying upon a “normal development assistance framework” wherever feasible, the plan for the successor mission contains core tasks that are crucial to protecting the progress made to date. The report states that it will be essential, however, that this contribution be supplemented by multilateral and bilateral arrangements.
The Secretary-General states that, as indicated above in his report, international staff will perform core tasks for a period of two years or less after independence, as responsibilities are transferred progressively to the East Timorese within that period. In this connection, he intends to write to the President of the Council recommending a date for East Timor’s independence, following consultations with his Special Representative and the Constituent Assembly, which is currently seized of this matter. The successor mission would be established on that date, and the mandate of UNTAET would, therefore, need to be extended accordingly.
The report says that, ultimately, the responsibility
for establishing a viable State in East Timor clearly belongs to its people.
The East Timorese have amply demonstrated the depth of their commitment
to this task through sacrifice, imagination and determination. He
urges the Council to ensure that these foundations are not undermined and
to consolidate the remarkable contribution it has already made to this
SERGIO VIEIRA DE MELLO, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said that there had been exciting progress in the past weeks in devolving authority onto what would be the fully independent State of East Timor. The election process had been widely acknowledged as a success, the Constituent Assembly had been sworn in, and the Council of Ministers had been established. Currently, therefore, the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) was now clearly a mission in support of a government which was taking all administrative decisions. That Government had decided overwhelmingly, he said, to recommend to the Secretary-General the date of 20 May 2002 for the independence of East Timor. Should the Council of Ministers agree with that date, the 200 days preceding it and the period immediately afterwards would have the most impact on the total success of UNTAET. One of the most onerous present tasks was crafting a budget fitted to limited means as the number of international personnel was reduced. The support provided by the current mission, with its budget roughly 10 times that of the national one, would simply not be sustained after independence. Before independence, the negative impact of that adjustment must be minimized and the continuation of critical functions must be assured after the UNTAET mandate came to an end.
For that purpose, he said, an organized, rational drawdown of UNTAET personnel in public administration must be managed, avoiding an unduly precipitous reduction in the calibre of delivery of government services. A minimum of support must continue to ensure that the Government does not falter, and a clear direction was needed from the Council regarding the nature of the successor mission he was proposing, so that, most importantly, personnel for that mission could be recruited in a timely manner.
The successor mission to UNTAET, he said, would focus on the security of the new nation. At the moment, security gave little cause for concern. On independence, internal security would continue to be the primary responsibility of the international civilian police, with increasing involvement from the national police service which had performed well during the election. According to current plans, civilian police would be reduced by around 25 per cent by independence, and afterwards in phases corresponding to the operational capacity of the national police. Civilian police officers at that point must have appropriate qualifications; and the target of a 3,000-strong East Timor police should be reduced, in consultation with the Council of Ministers.
The military component, he said, should number some 5,000 personnel by independence, down 44 per cent from current strength, in order to ensure effective border security pending the development of the East Timor Defence Force. The border was still troubled by criminality and the possibility of crossings by armed militia. The first Defence Force battalion would be operational in June, and the whole force would not be free-standing until mid-2004. Donors might wish to assist that development to allow for a quicker withdrawal of international forces.
For effective security, he said that relations based on mutual respect and interests must be created between East Timor and Indonesia, and he described a series of positive developments in that area and that of the Ad Hoc Human Rights Tribunal. However, there were still too many issues that required concrete resolution, including cooperation in justice matters, cross-border issues, the question of pensions for former Indonesian civil servants, and other issues on which progress should be made before independence.
Progress, he said, had been made in encouraging refugee returns and the isolation of the militia hardcore. Efforts must continue, however, in finding a quick solution to the misery of those who continued to live in fear and poverty in West Timor.
In addition, he said, justice and reconciliation must be addressed in a manner that reinforced peace and stability. Violence flowing from the 1999 abuses had been minimal, but that might increase with the return of more refugees. A Commission of Reception, Truth and Reconciliation had been established, and the selection of commissioners should be finalized by December. Personal accounts given to that Commission would be compiled into a report; perpetrators of lesser crimes would be allowed to enter into community-based plea-bargaining mechanisms. Totally funded by donors, the Commission would have a mandate of two years.
The civilian elements of the successor mission, he said, should include standard offices, such as Political Affairs and Human Rights, but also a proposed structure for dealing with serious crimes committed during the 1999 violence. As the Secretary-General’s report showed, much progress had been made in that latter area, but the process could be further cemented. In other areas of civilian support, the resource needs of the Second Transitional Government were currently being identified. So far, it was clear that up to 300 positions would be needed, the majority in human development and poverty reduction, funded by voluntary sources. Other critical areas of administration were critical to the viability and stability of the Government and must be ensured through the assessed budget. Those included finance, legal and justice, essential infrastructure services, and basic regulatory, administrative and central logistical systems.
Any failure of the public administration, he said, would be a failure of the United Nations, so the job needed to be completed. The Timorese did not want needlessly protracted dependence, but all actors agreed on the serious risks that would accompany a precipitous withdrawal of international support. The Secretary-General’s proposal was, therefore, modest and fair. The minimum civilian support proposed would provide critical expertise, and responsibility would be handed over to Timorese staff as soon as possible.
The imminent UNTAET success, now widely
predicted, stood a much greater chance if the Transitional Administration
was allowed to exit with a strategy, he concluded. That strategy
had been proposed by the Secretary-General. The combined and truly
inspiring investment in East Timor must be fully realized -- as a
reward both for the courage and determination of the East Timorese and
the commitment of the United Nations.
MARI ALKATIRI, Chief Minister of the Second Transitional Government of East Timor, announced that the Territory’s Constituent Assembly had agreed to recommend 20 May 2002 as the date of independence.
Stressing the importance of institution-building and the gradual transfer of administrative functions to East Timorese civil servants, he requested the Security Council to provide the necessary human, material and financial resources that would demonstrate the success of the United Nations and the international community. That success should translate into the entrenchment of the democratic State, with all the requisite and functional institutions that would ensure the rule of law.
He said that East Timor’s financial resources were currently inadequate to cover the costs of contracting experts to assist in critical areas. The use of the limited financial resources of the Trust Fund of East Timor and the Consolidated Fund for East Timor would be to the detriment of education, health and other reconstruction and development sectors. The recurrent budget of $65 million remained to be funded, and donors would be required to meet the financing gap in order for the Second Transitional Government to carry out its functions and programmes.
The Second Transitional Government was also preoccupied with the reconciliation process and the return of refugees from Indonesia, he said. Reconciliation was an important component of the healing process the East Timorese people would need to go through. The last 12 months had seen a steady increase in numbers of refugees returning to East Timor. All efforts would be made to continue to encourage the returnees and to resettle them.
He said the Second Transitional Government
had been heartened by Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri’s positive
reaction to the reconciliation process when the East Timorese delegation
and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General visited Indonesia
last September. Hopefully, the strong interest in re-establishing
good relations based on mutual respect would be quickly cemented.
MATS KARLSSON, Vice-President of External Affairs and United Nations Affairs, World Bank, said the greatest challenge facing the newly established administration in East Timor was that of governing a new country with very limited resources. There were also immediate skills that had to be filled to stave off any government collapse. The World Bank’s assessment indicated that the continued provision of international staff in key State functions was critical to prevent the collapse of State services in the post-independence period. While good progress had been made since 2000, strong management systems and skills would take much longer to build than the short period between the establishment of the East Timorese Transitional Administration and independence.
He said the current proposals on the need for United Nations funding were already based on strong burden-sharing with bilateral and multilateral donors. The Trust Fund for East Timor, for example, administered by the World Bank through the International Development Association (IDA), would finance at least 30 international positions in the post-independence years. Bilateral donors were also providing technical assistance. The nature of the many functions outlined by the Secretary-General in his current report, however, was outside the type of capacity-building more normally provided by donors. Also, the aggregate external financing available for East Timor was already overstretched by the need to assist the East Timorese Government in delivering basic services.
He said the UNTAET-administered Consolidated Fund for East Timor and the IDA-administered Trust Fund for East Timor currently had a combined financing gap of over $14 million. In the post-independence period, it was estimated that East Timor would have some difficulty in mobilizing the external financing required to bridge the lean years between independence and the realization of more substantial Timor Sea Hydrocarbon revenues in 2005/2006.
He said preparations were currently under
way for the next East Timor Donors Meeting in Oslo, 11-13 December 2001.
Chaired jointly by the United Nations and the World Bank, the meeting would
seek to provide a platform to initiate donor discussions on the medium-term
programme of support for a post-independent East Timor. An integrated
approach was desirable between that process and discussions of the assessed
contribution budget, since uncertainties over the coverage of the latter
would inevitably affect donor discussions on the medium-term aid programme.
ZEPHIRIN DIABRE, Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), described the current presence of that agency in East Timor. A draft country programme had been prepared and would be approved as soon as independence was achieved. Emergency support had already transitioned into development, supporting a range of efforts in areas such as health, energy, water, natural disaster management and many others.
With independence, assistance would still be needed for nation-building and development. To ensure stability, 96 positions would be required for the capacity-building of East Timorese officials. In addition, some 200 positions would be required for sustainable development concerns and would be described in detail by mid-December. The UNDP was committed to mobilizing the funds required, but tough choices on priorities would have to be made due to various limitations on funds.
Without the guarantee of support, critical
government functions would be compromised, he said. The United Nations
development group knew it was just beginning its full role, but considerable
support must be guaranteed if the transition to a stable State in East
Timor was to be accomplished. The international community must complete
the task it was charged with and help foster a strong, viable government
in the new nation.
KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore) wanted to know how the views of other Member States could be factored into decisions of the Council on East Timor. He also wanted to know how past decisions could be brought into play. He said the Secretary-General had produced a careful, well-balanced report on how to scale down the Mission in East Timor. While East Timor was a big job that must now be finished, the question that needed to be asked was: what exactly was that job? It was normal for many to think that when independence was granted, the job was over. But another question to be asked was whether mandates had been fulfilled. The answer was no, and the job had yet to be completed.
He said that an examination of the recent history of United Nations peacekeeping operations would not reveal many success stories. East Timor, nevertheless, could be a success story. Citing the cases of the Central African Republic and Guinea-Bissau, he remarked that “sadly we walked away before the job was done. Let this not be the case with East Timor”. Success, he stressed, came about through hard thinking and true judgement. The Council had to make East Timor a success story, now and in the coming months. He underscored that it would cost much more “if we have to go back and rebuild successes made so far”.
The key to success was assured funding through assessed contributions. Failure in East Timor would have implications on other United Nations endeavours. Pointing to a possible perilous mission in Afghanistan, he said that success in East Timor would increase the prestige and standing of the United Nations in various parts of the world. There was also a strategic dimension to his country’s concern over East Timor. The future of the Territory and that of the region it belonged to were linked. An unstable East Timor would unsettle the region. How the United Nations handled the situation would therefore have far-ranging consequences on the region as a whole.
He said East Timor was not an abstract
matter or just another agenda item. It was vitally important to Singapore
and other countries of the region. While some Council members might
be somewhat detached from the topic of East Timor, since every issue was
not given equal importance, he stressed once again that the future of the
Territory was very important to his delegation.
PATRICIA DURRANT (Jamaica) pledged her country’s continued support to the process in East Timor. However, after recent progress, it was necessary to re-evaluate plans for the future. Previous sacrifice and investment must not be squandered for lack of resources to support the new State. Gains that had been achieved must be built on, with the emphasis on nation building. The process of devolution of authority was satisfactory so far.
She said that the security of those still in West Timor must be ensured, and, while welcoming Indonesia’s cooperation, she said more progress had to be made towards that end and other objectives. She also attached great importance to the economic and social development of East Timor. Poverty-reduction initiatives were a good start, and she welcomed the efforts of the UNDP and the World Bank—but well-rounded, sustainable development must be encouraged.
It was clear that an international presence would be required after independence, she said. The military component must be able to address both internal and external threats, and should be reduced only as the capacity of the local forces were increased. The lack of local expertise necessary for the functioning of the government meant external assistance was needed both in core functions and beyond. She supported the use of assessed funds for core functions, and appealed for donor assistance to meet other needs.
She also supported a strengthened justice
system, attention to gender issues, and the serious crimes unit as proposed
by the Secretary-General. She hoped the Indonesian Supreme Court
would review recent decisions in that latter regard. In closing,
she said voluntary contributions alone could not be relied on. So
much had been accomplished through the sacrifice and efforts of many actors,
and the trust of the East Timorese must not be breached.
WANG YINGFAN (China) said his delegation had always emphasized a continued international presence in East Timor so that the tasks given to the Mission there could be completed. The Secretary-General had proposed specific recommendations which were both practical and feasible. The report had also specially emphasized the issue of “no exit without strategy”.
He said the sacrifices of the East Timorese, the efforts of the international community and the spirit of cooperation should not be allowed to go to waste. A post-independent East Timor required the indispensable help of the United Nations. The continued presence of the Organization would ensure that efforts and achievements made so far would not be squandered.
He said the Secretary-General had expressed
the hope that the Council would approve his recommendations. Having
carefully studied the needs of East Timor and the practical proposals of
the current report, China endorsed the recommendations, including guaranteeing
the successor mission with the necessary resources. His delegation
also supported the Presidential statement to be adopted later today.
JEANDAVID LEVITTE (France) said East Timor and UNTAET were already one of the success stories of the United Nations. He looked forward to the Council’s attending Independence Day ceremonies next year. However, the mistakes of the past must not be repeated. The great investment and efforts must not be squandered. The solidarity of the international community, and that of France, had been exemplary in East Timor and would continue.
The debate now, he said, concerned certain aspects of missions that were both peacekeeping and nation-building. He reiterated that a dual partnership needed to be developed. The first was that of the Security Council and the troop-contributing countries. The second was that with international development institutions, and good coordination must be developed for that purpose.
The competencies of the Council, however,
were extended beyond its Charter mandate when it presided over complex
missions, and there were complaints in the General Assembly about that
extension of power. That problem must be resolved. A success
such as that in East Timor must be seen as a success of the entire United
ANDREY E. GRANOVSKY (Russian Federation) said the United Nations had played a key role in overcoming the crisis in East Timor. Now it was necessary to envisage a further role for the Organization in the post-independence period.
He said the real needs of East Timor would have to be taken into account when prescribing the size, reach and scope of the post-independence successor mission. Regional institutions must back up the United Nations, which should coordinate the whole exercise. He also underscored that the international presence in the Territory should wind down slowly.
He said the Russian Federation supported
the specific ideas contained in the recent report of the Secretary-General.
It had set the right tone in discussing the steps to be taken in East Timor.
His delegation said the proposals contained in the report would ensure
success in the Territory.
BIJAYEDUTH GOKOOL (Mauritius) said that the high turnout rate in the East Timor elections proved that no desire was stronger than that for self-determination. He fully supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General, especially those relating to the continued presence of United Nations personnel. Now that a representative Government was in place, its primary aim would be the reconstruction of the country. The international community should support it in all spheres of activity. Gains already made should not be jeopardized.
He welcomed international support for the three pillars of democracy in a newly independent country - an impartial and independent judiciary, a competent and fully trained civilian police, and a solid and broad-based administrative framework. He expressed concern, however, over security problems, the continued intimidation of refugees, and the need to assure human rights. On the external front, he welcomed meetings between Indonesia and representatives of East Timor and United Nations agencies.
Among those agencies, he said, cooperation
was of paramount importance. Long-term reconciliation, nation-building,
and capacity-building were also essential, as was expansion of the jurisdiction
of the Ad Hoc Tribunal and the Reception, Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
To complete all its work, it was imperative for the international community
to remain involved in East Timor for two years after independence.
He supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General in that regard
and the draft Presidential statement tabled by the United Kingdom.
KISHORE MABHUBANI (Singapore) said he would like to respond to the implication by the representative of France that Singapore liked to debate for the sake of debate. Singapore was not trying to debate but to express its puzzlement in an open meeting over the difficulties encountered during consultations in approving the report. He had not known how to alert the non-members of the Council, but Mr. Levitte had taken care of that.
He added that Mr. Levitte said that France had made a larger contribution to East Timor than Singapore. Under the formula by which contributions were assessed, permanent members of the Council paid larger assessments—with privilege came responsibility. He noted that many non-permanent members were ready to pay more money to become permanent members of the Council.
He agreed with Mr. Levitte that the Council
should be sensitive to views of the General Assembly, and he hoped it would
listen carefully to the views of the non-members when they spoke today.
STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) said he was gratified by the success of the Mission. His Government thought of its contribution as a national commitment as well as its obligation as a member of the Council. He was fully committed to the East Timorese people achieving the independence that they deserved.
He said the Secretary-General’s report was well argued, well documented and offered lessons to be learned for the preparation of other reports. He hoped the Secretariat would take advantage of new mechanisms and working procedures to build on what was already a good basis. He endorsed the Presidential statement, and said that a preliminary withdrawal of UNTAET could have a destabilizing effect. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s recognition that a clear exit strategy must be in place. A number of key civilian positions to support the new Government should be funded for a limited period after independence. That help would be critical to the functioning of the new Government after independence. The success of the Mission justified the continuation of assessed contributions for a time after independence. The key objective should be to assure East Timor that it would have enough support to carry it through the initial phase of independence. He hoped, however, that the use of assessed contributions would not discourage others from coming forth with voluntary contributions. He supported the move to more conventional forms of assistance when the Government became sustainable, and not before.
He was pleased to hear of the actions for
a tribunal to deal with the issue of serious crime. It had an important
role in terms of justice and national reconciliation. He welcomed
the decision of President Megawati to extend the jurisdiction of the Indonesian
ad hoc tribunal.
JAMES CUNNINGHAM (United States) said his Government welcomed the Secretary-General’s report and joined other members of the Council in endorsing it. He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations in the context of United States support for UNTAET. He particularly welcomed the work of the UNDP in support of UNTAET. He encouraged the Council to agree that a good definition of ultimate success would be when the last UNTAET member had left the Territory and the East Timorese Government could stand on its own.
The East Timorese, he said, must focus
on a democratic way forward. The UNTAET must help the process by
staying on schedule with the downsizing it had set for itself and in elaborating
a plan that would end peacekeeping support by mid-2004.
MOCTAR OUANE (Mali) said his Government was pleased to note the political progress being made towards achieving independence in East Timor, including enhancing security services, public services and reconstruction. Those results had been achieved with the assistance of UNTAET, and they attested to the great political maturity evinced by the people of East Timor.
He said the remaining challenge was to
guarantee the viability of the independent State of East Timor. He
hoped everything would be done to achieve that. The international
community was duty-bound to join in the first steps the new State took,
particularly by helping in areas such as finance and security. He
also called on the international financial institutions to provide assistance
after independence. He supported the Presidential statement, shortly
to be issued.
OLE PETER KOLBY (Norway) said the challenges ahead were now to protect and build upon achievements made so far in East Timor so that the nation-building project could be completed to the satisfaction of the East Timorese people and to the benefit of the countries of the region and the international community at large. That, he stressed, would require a substantial United Nations presence post-independence. Norway fully endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendations regarding the establishment of an integrated United Nations mission post-UNTAET, consisting of a military component, a civilian police component and a small civilian component encompassing justice and civil administration.
He urged great caution in any discussions that suggested downsizing the military and CivPol components beyond what was recommended in the current report of the Secretary-General. In that context, he reminded the Council of its need to contribute consistently to national and regional stability. Moreover, the downsizing of the CivPol component should not jeopardize the crucial task of building capacity within the East Timorese Police Force, aimed at transforming it into a fully accountable and professional institution. The prospects for long-term security and stability were closely linked to the question of accountability and reconciliation. It was, therefore, of vital importance that the Council renewed its commitment to the task of bringing to justice those responsible for serious crimes committed in 1999. Moreover, it was crucial that the future State of East Timor be firmly rooted in the rule of law and respect for citizens’ rights.
He said that full justice for the people
of East Timor could only be achieved when individuals residing in Indonesia
and suspected of committing crimes in East Timor were brought to justice.
He called on the Indonesian authorities to furnish the ad hoc tribunal
with the jurisdiction required to prosecute all serious crimes committed
in East Timor from January through October 1999. He also urged UNTAET
to continue its efforts to increase the number of women employed at all
levels within the civil administration. The remaining caseload of
refugees in West Timor continued to be a matter of concern. It was
therefore crucial that the environment there should enable refugees to
make decisions about their future, free from threats and intimidation.
ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said the recent elections marked a crucial moment in the way in which the East Timorese took part in their own future. The Territory would be entering a very important stage in the next 200 days - independence. The United Nations must therefore do its utmost, with the input of other multilateral bodies, in the days ahead. East Timorese must also provide input for the new Government. Based on all those factors, it was important for everything to be coordinated.
Addressing the issues of justice and crimes, he said there had been many calls for ad hoc tribunals. Such calls only confirmed how important it was not to allow impunity. There must also be a strengthening of existing powers and institutions along with the establishment of new ones to address issues such as justice and reconciliation. That was the only way any real move towards true coexistence would come about.
He said that while the Transitional Administration and the interim Government were both very important to the entire East Timorese situation, what was also needed was a high level of international cooperation. His delegation endorsed the recommendations in the report of the Secretary-General, and stressed a harmonious and seamless transition from UNTAET to a new United Nations administration in post-independence East Timor. The Territory must continue to receive the support it so badly needed for it to participate fully in the concert of nations.
The meeting was suspended at 1:25 p.m.
It resumed at 3:15 p.m.
M. SHAMEEM AHSAN (Bangladesh) supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General’s report and said that the international community had so far succeeded in laying a reasonably good foundation in East Timor. With continued engagement, that foundation could be consolidated for an historic achievement.
However, he said, a number of aspects should be addressed if East Timor was to be assisted in emerging as a stable, democratic, pluralistic State. Those included security, safe return of refugees, a constructive relationship with Indonesia, and the nature and duration of continuing support to the new State. United Nations support should be provided, he said, through assessed contributions to the Organization. He urged other donors to fulfil their pledges early to supplement United Nations efforts.
In addition, he said, indigenous solutions
must be brought to bear on East Timor’s development problems. In
that regard, Grameen Bank of Bangladesh was assisting micro-credit programmes.
He asked for an elaboration by Mr. De Mello of how “Quick Impact
Projects” could bolster East Timor’s subsistence agriculture. He
pledged that Bangladesh would remain on East Timor’s side, just as it was
now providing support in reconstruction and capacity-building, through
peacekeepers and civilian professionals.
OTHMAN JERANDI (Tunisia) supported the
recommendations of the Secretary-General. It was important to preserve
the achievements of the United Nations system and the international community
in East Timor. That support must be continued. It was important
to have an exit strategy and to work on peace-building. He called
on all the parties to support a democratic process. He also supported
extending the Mission until the declaration of independence with the configuration
of tasks to be accomplished by United Nations personnel, in accordance
with the Secretary-General’s recommendations. Noting that those tasks
would be steadily transferred to the East Timorese, he said the insertion
of East Timor in its own environment was critical.
VOLODYMYR G. KROKHMAL (Ukraine) said significant
progress had been made in the implementation of key elements of UNTAET’s
mandate, and he was encouraged by the achievements in economic and social
development and the building of the East Timorese civil service.
Once independence was achieved, however, East Timor would still require
substantial support. An integrated mission could provide such support.
He endorsed the relevant recommendations contained in the report of the
Secretary-General, and among other things, the need for a security force.
The peacekeeping force should be highly mobile, and should continue to
work in close coordination with local authorities. It was important
for the East Timorese to play an increasing role in public safety and defence
of their borders. He stressed the importance of the civilian police
component. He agreed that the substantial strength of the civilian
police should be maintained until the East Timorese police were capable
of assuming full responsibility. The civilian professional staff
should remain in East Timor to provide key assistance to the new Government.
It was important that adequate and timely assistance be available.
The international community must carefully consider the consequences of
the reduction of forces in East Timor.
BRIAN COWEN, Foreign Minister of Ireland and Security Council President, said he looked forward to the day when East Timor would take its rightful place in the General Assembly. The East Timorese had drawn strength from international support to forge their own independence. “The United Nations has helped a nation to rise to its feet, but we must walk with it before returning home”, he said. The Organization could not be seen to renege on its obligation and commitment. He agreed that the United Nations must remain in East Timor to protect the major achievements so far realized. He endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendation for an integrated mission. Downsizing should only be carried out in line with the development of East Timor’s capacity to take over. The successor mission should be funded with assessed contributions.
He commended the advances already made
by East Timor and emphasized that the development of East Timor must be
in accordance with the people’s wishes—not those of the donor instructions.
Ireland planned to double its aid to East Timor in the next two years.
East Timor needed the international community’s commitment in the critical
period between now and independence.
STEPHANE DE LOECKER (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said he agreed that the elections in East Timor should take place before the declaration of independence so that before it left, UNTAET could ensure that the elections went smoothly. He expressed concern about the continuing activities of the militias in West Timor, but he was pleased to note the increase in the number of refugees returning to East Timor. He underlined the importance of a swift conclusion of a memorandum of understanding between the United Nations and the Indonesian Government, to allow the return of the humanitarian agencies to assist repatriation efforts.
He said the suggested draw-down of the military, civilian police and civil administration components, which was proposed following numerous consultations with the representatives of the Timorese people, should meet the principal needs of the people once independence had been declared. The European Union endorsed the recommendations of the Secretary-General for an integrated mission, and looked forward to his further recommendations.
The international community must ensure that the negative impact on the economy, occasioned by the departure of United Nations staff, was minimized. The future international presence would continue to face a heavy task of reconstruction. The European Union would cooperate with the international financial institutions and all the actors involved. He attached particular importance to the process of national reconciliation and reiterated the Union’s call to the Government in Jakarta to conclude the appeals procedure in the case of the murder last year of three United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) workers in Atambua.
Continuing, he said the international community
must make a success of UNTAET’s departure and the transition to an international
presence that would be both effective and efficient in its reconstruction
efforts. The European Union fully supported the Secretariat in that
task and in planning the next stages.
FRANCISCO SEIXAS DA COSTA (Portugal) said that in spite of UNTAET’s efforts, its tasks would not be completed by independence, since the overall security and political situation would still be fragile. It was therefore vital to safeguard and build upon the progress achieved in order not to jeopardize the enormous investment made by the international community, and particularly by the East Timorese, which had included loss of life.
He said further planning would be needed in light of the outcome of elections for the Constituent Assembly, the views of the all-Timorese Transitional Cabinet, the coordination among all international actors and security developments on the ground. But Portugal strongly believed that the Secretary-General’s report contained the right framework for the future presence of the United Nations.
In considering the role of the United Nations
in the future of East Timor, it was fundamental to address the question
of justice and human rights, he said. Portugal welcomed the progress
made in establishing a Timorese judiciary and in setting up a Truth and
Reconciliation Commission. It also welcomed progress in the investigation
of serious crimes committed in East Timor during 1999. However, efforts
in that area must continue, as they were fundamental for the Territory’s
long-term political and social stability.
YUKIO SATOH (Japan), while appreciating the Secretary-General’s report and the difficulties of assessing the future situation in East Timor, said he would have liked more detail on the proposed United Nations presence in the post-independence period there. For that reason, Mr. de Mello’s statement today was useful; further details should be provided as soon as possible by the Security Council.
Japan supported the structure of the follow-on mission as recommended by the Secretary-General, he said, and hoped that accelerated Secretariat work in the coming weeks would result in a Security Council endorsement of the new mission—in the form of a resolution—by the end of next January.
He was pleased by the progress toward independence
thus far, resulting from the efforts of both the people of East Timor and
the international community. Further efforts from all actors were
required; but the efforts of the East Timorese themselves were most critical
for nation-building and for making foreign assistance truly effective for
development. He assured them that Japan would remain their partner
in tackling those challenging but rewarding tasks.
JOHN DAUTH (Australia) said the Security Council had an opportunity to send an unequivocal signal to the people of East Timor and the international community of its continuing commitment to a successful transition process. That signal should take the form of a clear endorsement of the recommendations set out in the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNTAET.
He said that endorsement of the Secretary-General’s recommendations was necessary to enable timely and effective planning of the future United Nations role in East Timor. Unless there was a clear endorsement, there was a risk of ambiguity and delays. Early concrete decisions would protect the substantial United Nations investment in East Timor.
Nobody wished to see an open-ended United
Nations presence in East Timor, he said. Nevertheless, the Security Council
had a responsibility to ensure that the prospect of a successful transition
was not jeopardized by a precipitate downsizing of the United Nations presence
in any of the core areas outlined by the Secretary-General, or by inadequate
resources and unreliable funding for a post-independence United Nations
CHUCHAI KASEMSARN (Thailand) said the people of East Timor and UNTAET deserved enormous credit for their remarkable achievement in light of the harrowing destruction of two years ago. But UNTAET’s task, as laid out in resolution 1272, would not be completed at the time of independence. The assistance of the international community must continue for the new nation to attain self-sustenance in political, economic and social development. In that respect, he supported the proposal that the core tasks of the successor mission should be funded by the assessed budget, which would be supplemented by bilateral or multilateral arrangements.
In addition, he said, only a clear exit strategy with a solid development framework would prevent the disintegration of progress achieved to date. Only a strong and stable East Timor, in addition, would contribute to the economic and political viability of the region, so States in the region were doing all they could, within their limited resources, to support the efforts of the international community there.
A United Nations presence should remain
in East Timor as long as necessary, he said, and Thailand has offered to
assist in the areas of agriculture, public health and technical expertise.
That was in addition to its continuous contribution of military and police
personnel, who had contributed to security, capacity-building and rehabilitation
efforts. Despite its limited resources, the Thai Government intended
to continue that multi-faceted role and was prepared to maintain a battalion
of troops in the successor mission, to help East Timor ensure a peaceful
future for its people.
ENRIQUE A. MANALO (Philippines) urged the Security Council to ensure that the gains achieved so far were preserved and promoted by a well-conceived, credible and adequate post-independence United Nations presence in East Timor. While the attainment of independence was no mean feat, it could not be the final chapter of the United Nations exit strategy for the Territory.
He said the challenges ahead for East Timor remained daunting as the Territory strove to achieve stability and development through the establishment of sustainable democratic institutions and economic structures.
The security situation was a matter of
deep concern, he said. Until the envisaged East Timor Defence Force
became fully functional, the United Nations should ensure that a robust
United Nations presence remained in the Territory. The gains achieved
by the East Timorese people should not be jeopardized by a precipitate
withdrawal of international support, he stressed.
AMRAIYA NAIDU (Fiji) urged consensus on the issue of maintaining the troop presence, saying that the new-found peace in East Timor was yet to consolidate and would most likely flounder in the absence of a strategic withdrawal. Moreover, there were still outstanding issues under negotiation between the parties, including law enforcement, capacity-building of police and security forces, and of the basic infrastructure that was vital for full autonomy.
He said that although militia activity was declining, it continued to pose some security and human rights concerns and must be addressed for the protection and safety of the population—thus the need for the continued presence of peacekeepers. Besides that, much work remained to be accomplished in facilitating the return of thousands of refugees still in Indonesia.
A premature withdrawal would expose East
Timor to likely violence and armed conflict, he warned. The UNTAET
had given the people of East Timor a feeling of security and hope for a
new life with some sense of purpose. The least that the United Nations
could do, having come this far, was to provide them with security and confidence
with the presence of peacekeepers.
GELSON FONSECA JR. (Brazil) said that despite all the positive strides made, it was clear that important deficiencies remained that must be addressed with the continued support of the international community. While the security situation was stable, militia activity persisted in the border areas. Vigilance must be maintained for potential threats, especially in light of reported intimidation and disinformation in West Timor refugee camps.
Another critical area for the future of East Timor, he said, was the strengthening of the rule of law. In the field of criminal justice, East Timor still faced a dearth of judges, prosecutors, lawyers, investigators, forensic experts and interpreters. Additional resources might be needed to reinforce the criminal justice system.
He emphasized that independence should
not be seen as the only objective. While it was a fundamental step,
and a precondition for a better life for all East Timorese, it should not
be an excuse for precipitous withdrawal. Independence should be seized
as an opportunity for the international community to display a real commitment
to a stable and democratic East Timor. Many obstacles that lay ahead
might thwart success, but the only way to avoid them was to go all the
way in implementing UNTAET’s mandate.
OUCH BORITH (Cambodia) stressed that several conditions must be fulfilled to ensure a stable and prosperous independent East Timor: respect for an accelerated Timorization process leading to independence; comprehensive and complete transfer of authority after independence; and good relations with Indonesia, which were key to the Territory’s future survival. The 12 September meeting between Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri and the East Timorese delegation had made a significant step forward in strengthening neighbourly ties and good cooperation.
He said that in view of its tragic past and recent achievements in bringing about peace and stability, Cambodia’s unique experience was an important case study for East Timor’s future. A post-conflict country like Cambodia or East Timor could be regarded as a sick person requiring treatment or surgery. With independence, the international community should provide support for capacity-building, rehabilitation and reconstruction of infrastructure, reconciliation and economic and social development.
Civil society could contribute very much
to the goals of post-conflict development and growth, he said. In
Cambodia, the private sector had placed a lot of emphasis on attracting
foreign investment and had instituted the most liberal foreign investment
laws in the region. Hopefully, East Timor would soon be a new and
vibrant member of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN),
which could significantly accelerate its economic and social development.
SUN JOUN-YUNG (Republic of Korea) said the results of the elections in East Timor were encouraging. He expressed satisfaction at the progress in economic and social development reported. It was also heartening to hear that refugee returns had increased after those elections, though the large number of refugees remaining in Indonesia and the continued threat posed by hard-line militias were worrisome. He therefore encouraged all related efforts at negotiations between the United Nations and Indonesia.
There was agreement, he said, on the need for a reduced but substantial presence in East Timor after independence, so that achievements there were not squandered. Restructuring the mission, however, required delicacy and a sense of balance: there were budgetary and other restrictions on the United Nations contribution and, from a management point of view, it would not be easy to determine size, duration and exit strategy. He fully supported the recommendations on those issues outlined in the Secretary-General’s report, and expected further recommendations on the downsizing of UNTAET as appropriate.
Finally, to ensure the stability and sustainability
of an independent East Timor, he expressed appreciation for the efforts
of the Indonesian Government in the political, military, humanitarian and
human rights areas, especially since the inauguration of President Megawati.
Hoping that the international community would offer continued attention
to the new State, he also expressed his country’s continued commitment
to East Timor.
HASMY AGAM (Malaysia) said that the friends of East Timor wished to ensure that the United Nations would not leave the territory in a premature and precipitous manner after independence. The Organization’s continued presence beyond the completion of the political transition was important in ensuring the smooth implementation of the arduous process of nation-building. It was essential, therefore, that the international community continue to support UNTAET through assured United Nations funding.
He said the envisaged integrated successor mission to UNTAET would enable the United Nations to complete the mandate of Council resolution 1272. That would provide sufficient time for the consolidation of institutions being built in East Timor, especially the civil service. The Council’s present and future actions should reflect the desire of the East Timorese people and the reality on the ground, taking into account the Secretary-General’s view that the operational responsibilities must be devolved to the East Timorese as soon as possible.
The return of refugees, particularly pro-integration
groups and separated children, was an important element of the nation-building
process, he stressed. At the same time, the formation of a sustainable
democratic State would require a higher level of maturity than the people
of East Timor had shown during the election process. The sophistication
and wisdom with which they handled difficult and sensitive issues would
reflect the kind of nation that would evolve in a post-independence East
MAKMUR WIDODO (Indonesia) said that the strengthening of his country’s relations with East Timor was a priority. Indonesia was looking forward to holding a high-level bilateral meeting in the near future on ways to resolve outstanding issues and establishing a sound basis for future relations.
He said that another unfolding development in the relationship between Indonesia and East Timor was the conclusion of a bilateral agreement last weekend in Atambua concerning the demilitarization of the borders, thereby facilitating free and open visits by the Indonesian and East Timorese peoples. That would entail the withdrawal of foreign troops currently deployed at the borders as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force.
He said that the role of the United Nations
on the eve of East Timor’s independence must be viewed not only within
the framework of assisting the East Timorese people to achieve peace, security
and sustainable development, but also to resolve those outstanding issues.
Indonesia had left no stone unturned in fulfilling its commitments.
SERBINI ALI (Brunei Darussalam) said there was still a long way to go to make East Timor a viable State, and as such there were a number of areas where it needed assistance. The continued presence of the United Nations was therefore essential. Support was still needed in East Timorese capacity-building for self-government, despite the great improvements in that area.
He said other areas in public administration, particularly civil administration, still continued to rely heavily on services provided by UNTAET. His delegation felt that the United Nations should continue its support in that area, which also included development and training in information and communication technology.
He drew attention to the shortcomings of
the newly formed justice system. Supported only by the nascent East
Timor Police Service and East Timor Defence Force, it would be difficult
for the Territory to deal with threats to peace and security. He
concluded by re-emphasizing the importance of building on progress achieved
so far. The continued international presence in East Timor would
ensure a successful transition of the Territory as a country into the international
arena. At the same time, what had to be ensured was continued consultation
and cooperation with the East Timorese as UNTAET carried out its mandate.
PETER DONIGI (Papua New Guinea) said that terminating the mandate of UNTAET and transferring the funding of United Nations activities to a special Trust Fund, based on voluntary contributions to East Timor’s development, was tantamount to abandoning the Territory. The United Nations should not unnecessarily scale down its contribution to the development efforts of East Timor following independence.
He said the international community must continue to walk beside the Territory until it reached full maturity. East Timor still required expertise in running the Government, in law and order, health, education, agriculture and other areas of infrastructure development. Papua New Guinea was not yet fully satisfied that the institutions of Government in East Timor had been fully developed and manned with the appropriate personnel.
The United Nations must continue to address
integral human development issues, based on a solid foundation of human
security, he said. In order to achieve that, it would be essential
that the international community continue to fund all core tasks of a successor
mission to UNTAET. Integral human development must form part of that
successor mission’s core tasks. It would, therefore, be premature
for the United Nations to leave the Territory to its own devices after
DON MACKAY (New Zealand) said the recommendation for a successor mission to UNTAET was a logical and necessary step in fulfilling the mandate agreed by the Security Council. It was essential that the core military, police and civilian components of the successor mission be funded from assured peacekeeping contributions. On the civilian side, the further contributions sought by the Secretary-General were minimal compared to the overall United Nations investment in East Timor, but essential to that investment.
The scale of the proposed downsizing was significant, but appropriate and realistic, he said. While cautioning against seeking to trim the numbers further or speed up the timetable, New Zealand felt that the Secretary-General’s rigorous but flexible approach provided for further adjustments on the basis of developments on the ground.
He said that funding the successor mission
from assessed peacekeeping funds would provide financial security for core
functions identified by the Secretary-General in consultation with the
Constituent Assembly, donors, the World Bank and UNDP. It would assure
the people of East Timor and the international community of collective
political will to complete the job mandated in 1999.
CARLOS DOS SANTOS (Mozambique) said the Secretary-General’s report was clear and comprehensive in nature with regard to planning for an international presence in East Timor after independence. He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendations for the establishment of a successor mission to UNTAET. The main task would be to ensure security in East Timor as well as the viability and stability of government structures. It was imperative that all plans for downsizing UNTAET and its successor mission take into account prevailing security conditions and the needs of the new East Timorese administration. The presence of the United Nations in East Timor must be adequately funded from assessed contributions in order to ensure its sustainability.
He said the Council must ensure that the
sacrifices and investments made by the East Timorese people were not undermined.
The Council and the international community must act decisively and demonstrate
that they would not abandon the people of East Timor at such a crucial
juncture. He called on the international community to continue supporting
East Timor after its independence as it built its own sustainable system
of governance. The provision of technical, financial and other forms
of assistance would be crucial for East Timor if it was soon to join the
community of nations. Resources from assessed contributions must
be made available at adequate levels, and UNTAET and its successor mission
must be allowed to use the resources in a more flexible manner as they
prioritized and discharged the complex mandate in East Timor. Mozambique
would continue to lend its modest contribution to UNTAET and to the people
of East Timor.
JORGE EDUARDO NAVARRETE (Mexico) said his Government supported the concerted work of the United Nations and the Transitional Government of East Timor. He also expressed appreciation for the constructive attitude of the new Indonesian Government. Political dialogue between the parties had proven to be a fundamental factor in the positive advances that had taken place in East Timor. He hoped the channels of communication between the Indonesian and East Timorese authorities would be further strengthened. His delegation also supported the recommendations contained in the current report of the Secretary-General, particularly those related to a successor mission and the post-independence period He said it was essential for the United Nations to maintain a presence in East Timor so as to consolidate all its achievements so far, to respond to the need of the East Timorese people and to create conditions for the Territory’s harmonious transition to independence. The real challenge would be to maintain conditions for a lasting peace and create an environment that promoted sustainable development.
His Government also supported the establishment
of an integrated successor mission to maintain peace, under the leadership
of the current Special Representative.
Mr. DE MELLO said the wide endorsement
expressed for a continued United Nations presence in East Timor with predictable
funding would send a powerful and reassuring message to the people of the
Territory and the Second Transitional Government. That Government
faced quite a challenge in the months ahead. He had taken note of
the comments today and he would keep them in mind in the immediate future.
The fact that there had been no specific questions or concerns raised was
also very encouraging. Efforts would now be redoubled in the run-up
Mr. ALKATIRI said he had come from very far, and the expectations of his people were becoming increasingly larger. Now he was faced with yet another expectation - of the international community. The support that had been expressed today, however, would give the East Timorese more energy, creativity and strength to face all their challenges. Without such support it would not be possible. But with it, the people and Government of East Timor would do their best to make the impossible possible and create a stable, democratic and peaceful country.