U N I T E D N A T I O N S N A T I O N S U N I E S
GABINETE DO GOVERNO DE TRANSIÇÃO CHEFE DO GOVERNO
ADDRESS BY MR. MARI ALKATIRI,
Chief Minister, Second Transitional Government of East Timor
On the occasion of the
Offering of the Two Patrol Boats to the ETDF Naval Component
Dili, 12 January 2002
Mr. Sérgio Vieira de Mello, SRSG and Transitional Administrator
Mr. Francisco Guterres, President of the Constituent Assembly and Brother Lu-Olo,
Dr. Rui Pena, Minister for Defense of Portugal and members of his staff
Most Reverend Bishop Belo D. Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo,
Distinguished Members of the Constituent Assembly,
Distinguished Members of the Transitional Government,
PKF Commander General Winai Phattiyakul,
Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, Commander of the East Timor Defense Force,
Ambassador Pedro Moitinho de Almeida, Head of the Portuguese Diplomatic Mission in East Timor
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Representatives of the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
My first words are to Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak for the beautiful words he addressed and the tribute paid to the Women of our country. The in-depth analysis on the need of a naval component and the political decision to establish it were made before this Government was sworn-in. Allow me to seize this opportunity to address our Brother Xanana Gusmão for his decisive role in the strategic definition of the naval component of our Defense Force.
There is no doubt that the political and strategic decision was made by the East Timorese. However, it is equally unquestionable that the decision would not have been implemented if Portugal had not agreed to present ETDF with two patrol boats - Oecussi e Atauro and train its members who will operate the boats.
The ETDF naval component was considered from the beginning a political and strategic issue but also of economic importance. The political reasons are visible although the economic ones are not always as clear.
In a period when our country is dependant on donor finance, some studies show that East Timor could be contributing with millions of dollars if it had the capacity to control its maritime resources. Illegal fishing in our Exclusive Economic Zone is still a reality as East Timor is unable to issue fishing licenses and enforce its maritime rights.
The East Timorese have become accustomed to looking towards the sea as a potential source of income only from petroleum and gas. However, the wealth of our country and its potential to diversify its income stream is far wider. We need to further develop the fishery sector and build our enforcement capacity through the patrolling of our coastal waters. At the same time we will also be able to avoid the illegal exploration of our resources without the benefit to our People. On the other hand, we will also be giving a concrete contribution in the struggle against illegal traffic of drugs, arms and people smuggling.
I would like to refer to the role played by Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, José Ramos-Horta, during the Second Donors Conference on Defence, held in June 2001, to clarify the reasons for our vehement insistence on the constitution of our naval component.
The political and economical options for the East Timor leadership are clear, and within a couple of months the major guidelines of our National Development Plan will be communicated to our population and the International Community.
Although this is a Transitional Government and our State is not yet fully structured, I would like to highlight that our policies on Defence as in other areas, are being clearly outlined and made public.
We are committed to and will further develop the links that unite us to the Portuguese Speaking Countries within the scope of CPLP. In the Defense Sector these links are also being developed. We are witnesses to an example of such a cooperation and assistance here today. In addition, East Timor has participated for the first time in the CPLP Ministerial Summit of Ministers for Defense and, furthermore, ETDF has been invited to participate this year in the CPLP annual military exercises to take place in Angola.
We are committed to this co-operation and the development of this relationship. However, our history and experience have taught that we can not be isolated and least of all within our region. We are a small country and as such, East Timor will have to ensure its security by establishing agreements with its neighbours. I am of the conviction that a long lasting Peace can only be possible if we can build frank and constructive relationships with our neighbours.
This is how we envisage the future of our country. And this the way we will contribute to Peace in our region.
I have previously referred to the fact that it was not easy for the international community to initially understand the reasons for our insistence in the naval component of ETDF. Allow me, however, to make a special reference to the role played by the SRSG and Transitional Administrator, Dr. Sérgio Vieira de Mello, who ensured a regular and on-going dialogue with the East Timorese and understood our political, strategic and economic reasons. This understanding was translated into an unequivocal support to our decision.
In ending I wish to, once again, express our Thank you to Portugal. Portugal understood our arguments in defense of our national interests and enabled us to implement them.
East Timor has been assisted regularly and in many ways by Portugal. For this, we express our gratitude. However, in this specific case, I feel that all and every ‘Thank You’ addressed to Portugal will have to be translated in the performance of ETDF members selected for the naval component.
I will end with an appeal to you members of ETDF to commit yourselves to this training with discipline and pride. Your outcome, the acquisition of knowledge and the skills gained with it are of utmost importance fro our country. You will be the bearers of our ‘Thank You’ for the ‘Oecussi’ and ‘Atauro’ patrol boats.
12 ETDF: Ruak on occasion of Offering of 2 Patrol Boats
Speech added Jan 16
"The interests of our country and the territorial constraints arising from the fact that it is a half-island with an enclave, a small island and an islet, inevitably compel us to look towards the sea with a strategic perspective. The political leadership of our country presented and underscored this strategic importance and the national interests of East Timor in its discussions with Portugal. Such interests were clearly understood by Portugal which responded with the donation of these two Oecussi class patrol boats." Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, Força de Defesa de Timor-Leste
BD: UN appointed, East Timorese, Second Transitional Government of East Timor / Pemerintahan Transisi Kedua Timor-Timur - A collection of recent media releases, reports, articles and news
BD: Financing Reconstruction in East Timor / Fundu Ba Rekonstrusaun Timor Loro Sa’e / Bantu uang: Rékonstruksi - A collection of recent reports and articles