Força de Defesa
[East Timor Defence Force]
ADDRESS BY BRIGADIER GENERAL TAUR MATAN RUAK
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,
Mr. Mari Alkatiri,
Chief Minister, Second Transitional Government of East Timor
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,
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,
ETDF Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers! Oecussi and Atauro! These are the two names chosen for the two patrol boats presented by Portugal to East Timor.
The names were not chosen by chance. Oecussi is the cradle of our nation and as an integral part of our country a special tribute is long overdue;
Atauro, the beautiful island before us, is a symbol of the island identity of East Timor and can only be seen from Dili after our eyes sail across this see before us. I would like to express our appreciation to Maun Boot Xanana Gusmão for the time spent with us to analyze the strategic importance of the naval component and for suggesting the choice of these two names for the boats.
Allow me to briefly highlight some of the
most important initiatives taken by Portugal in supporting the East Timor
Portugal played a significant role in the very concept of the Defense Force. At a time in which the international community had difficulty in understanding the role to be carried out by FALINTIL and much was being said on the need to disband and disarm our national liberation army, Portugal did not once hesitate to discuss with us the study we had drafted earlier and, later support it with a subsequent study carried out by the National Defense Auditor’s Association and the Higher Institute of Military Studies. From that point on we started to elaborate a plan for the establishment of the future defense force of our country.
Once the international community accepted the establishment of the Defense Force with former FALINTIL guerrilla soldiers as its embryo and adopted the guidelines in the King´s College study, Portugal responded again to our appeal for assistance in selecting and recruiting the future ETDF soldiers. The next stage required basic training of the new recruits. Portugal sent a team of experts to this effect and initiated the Basic training Courses in Aileu. These courses ended recently in the new Nicolau Lobato Training School in Metinaro.
Portugal is again worthy of our gratitude and this time it is for an historic and very special reason.
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.
This offering by Portugal of two patrol boats is the starting point of the naval component of the East Timor Defense Force. The training of ETDF members who will be integrated in the naval component will begin immediately and will end by 20 May 2002 on the day of the transfer of power from UNTAET to the East Timorese.
The first of February is the day of the East Timor Defense Force. As of today, the 12 of January will become the day of the ETDF naval component. My closing words are directed to the two godmothers - Birali and Fernanda Borges - of our patrol boats Oecussi e Ataúro.
The choice of godmothers is not an easy task particularly when in East Timor, the women have played and continue to play an unquestionably major role in determining the future of our country. However, the ETDF had to make a well founded choice.
Our two sisters represent two fronts of our struggle and two generations in our history. From its onset, Birali was involved in the armed resistance struggle until the very end. Through her we wish to pay tribute to all the Mothers, Sisters and Daughters of our country who cherished, encouraged and fed us and inspired us with their heroism, their determination, perseverance, tenacity and love. On the other hand, Fernanda studied and graduated in a college in Australia. She left East Timor as a young child and returned carrying the tool our country most needs in this new historic stage: specialized knowledge and skills that will enable the organization and development of our Nation so as to ensure that poverty is eradicated and contribute to raising the living standards of our People. Through our Sister Fernanda we want to send out a clear message that we are already looking towards the future.
This historic diversity is the basis of our greatest wealth. We have before us two women with almost opposite backgrounds whose added experiences further increase the riches of East Timor.
Thank you Birali and Fernanda for having agreed to be the Godmothers of our two patrol boats, Oecussi and Atauro.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Thank you for your presence.
12 STGET: Alkatiri on occasion of Offering of 2 Patrol Boats
Speech added Jan 16
"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." Mr. Mari Alkatiri, Chief Minister, Second Transitional Government of East Timor
11 Bano: A Peace Zone: An Option for the Future of the Timor Enclave
Report added July 11
"Declaring Oe-cusse a peace zone is the best way to facilitate resolution of the enclave’s isolation. Accordingly it should be the first option pursued by the future East Timorese government. Such a declaration must become a legally binding guarantee included in the national constitution soon to be formulated. However, such a legally binding guarantee would lack strength without a treaty between East Timor and Indonesia on Oe-cusse." Arsenio Bano, Executive Director of the East Timor NGO Forum
25 ETDF: Ruak at the Opening Session of the Defence Donors Conference
Speech added June 26
"We can now say that we have achieved the structural transformation of FALINTIL into a Defence Force as conceptualised last year.
From yesterday’s guerrilla army based and inspired by the commitment and determination of our People and on the courage and patriotism of its members who fought with conviction for the liberation of our Homeland, we are now in the process of shaping a conventional force." Brigadier General Taur Matan Ruak, East Timor Defence Force
1 Taur Matan Ruak: Speech at Falintil transition ceremony
Speech added Feb 3
"Our final words are reserved to express our deepest and most respectful tribute to the People of East Timor: for their determination and their steadfastness which motivated us; for the love that you always gave in feeding us, nursing us and encouraging us; for the heroism in resisting which inspired us; and for teaching us to be humble and to fulfil our duty to defend our Homeland." Commander Taur Matan Ruak, FALINTIL (The Armed Forces for National Liberation of East Timor)
BD: FRETILIN - Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor / Frente Revolucionaria do Timor Leste Independente - A collection of recent speeches, documents, statements, news and reports
BD: East Timorese Women's Issues / Kestaun hosi Feto - A collection of recent information, petitions, articles and news