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"The Timorese ... find it hard to understand how, with the resources available, that after nearly one year following the Tokyo Conference, Dili is almost in the same state. A worse scenario, which hurts one's soul to witness, can be seen throughout the rest of the country." Xanana Gusmao
Donor's meeting - opening speech by the CNRT's representative

From: Ines Almeida, CNRT/Congresso Nacional Presidency


Brussels, 5-6 December 2000


Your Excellency Mr. Chris Patten, European Commissioner

Your Excellency Dr. Sérgio Vieira de Mello, SRSG and Transitional

Your Excellency Mr. Jemal Kassum, Deputy Chairman of the World Bank for Asia
and the Pacific

Distinguished Representatives of Governments and International Organizations

Dear Friends of Timor Lorosae

Ladies and Gentlemen

We would like to express our great pleasure at having a CNRT delegation present in this beautiful capital city of Brussels. The people and the Kingdom of Belgium have shown, on several occasions, their solidarity and friendship towards the people of Timor Lorosae.

We would also like to express our deep gratitude to the European Union and to the government representatives of all friendly countries here. We give our thanks also to the United Nations who, through UNTAET and UNDP, coordinate the UN agencies operating in our country; to the World Bank; to the Asian Development Bank; to IMF and to other organizations and NGOs with
representatives at this conference.

Your joint efforts have created peace and tranquility in Timor Lorosae and these conditions made the reconstruction process possible, which is just beginning to produce the transitional administration.

We congratulate the SRSG of the Transitional Administration of Timor Lorosae, our distinguished friend Dr. Sérgio Vieira de Mello, on his tireless efforts and dedication during this period. We also congratulate the foreign professionals who have given their utmost to advance this process. We would also never forget the great contributions of the international peace keeping contingents to a peaceful transition.

The support of the international community represented here has thus been decisive in the positive process of transition to independence of Timor Lorosae. Furthermore, these conferences, from Tokyo to Lisbon to Brussels, allow for the necessary and increasingly objective evaluations of the prevailing situation in Timor.

I should simply say that the situation in our country has been improving steadily and in spite of the many difficulties, structures so far established in East Timor are increasingly becoming more operational.


Understanding and cooperation between UNTAET and CNRT are often excellent but difficulties created by our different perceptive persist.

I will address three essential areas:

1 CNRT is deeply concerned about reconstruction programmes and, though I do not know whether we can really call them such, development programmes.

Processes are too slow, funds disbursement is excessively sluggish and procurement processes are unnecessarily top-heavy and costly. The Timorese understand completely the need to maintain the rigorous management of internationally donated funds, but they find it hard to understand how, with the resources available, that after nearly one year following the Tokyo Conference, Dili is almost in the same state. A worse scenario, which hurts one's soul to witness, can be seen throughout the rest of the country.

We want to understand transparency in management but find it difficult in this situation to imagine the art of managing with transparency. We want to learn simplicity in bureaucracy but find it difficult to imagine an exemplary and effective bureaucracy under these conditions.

CNRT feels that the two pillars which should support the transition to independence are: preparation of the Timorese, or the so-called "timorization" in government structures, a matter that I will address next, and the entire political process leading up to the adoption a Constitution.

2 CNRT feels that the process for the recruitment of the Timorese civil servants is far too slow.

From the point of view of CNRT it is not enough to just to have five Timorese in the Cabinet, when they are lacking human, material and financial resources to carry out their tasks. This situation has nurtured feelings of frustration, which have been compounded by the attitude of officers engaged by UNTAET to assist them. These officers do not seem to see a need for fully cooperating according to their position. There is already a perception in Timorese society that there are first class and second members of the Cabinet because of the differences in resourcing and capacity.

CNRT is convinced that the process of preparing the Timorese at the various levels of the civil service is not seen as a fundamental strategy, which would make the transition process substantial. In December last year in Tokyo we maintained that in the implementation of reconstruction programmes we were seeking a genuine partnership with the international community.

CNRT still believes that only a genuine partnership between the United Nations and the Timorese, where the latter are actively involved in decision making, will allow the desired government effectiveness during the transitional period alongside the essential preparation of the Timorese. We are thus deeply convinced that it is high time to give a renewed impetus to the recruitment process for key decision-making posts in order to initiate real empowerment of the Timorese.

If the principle of participation of the Timorese in the civil service during transition is seriously adopted, by the time UNTAET finishes its mandate, Timorese will be prepared to face the future challenges. If this happened successfully every UNTAET member and every foreign professional will be deeply rewarded for having helped the people of Timor Lorosae, in having built their capacity for posterity. They can all feel some pride at having been involved in a successful mission of the UN and the international community.

Allow us to make mistakes, so that we may gain experience from our own mistakes. What is imperative now is to speed up the process of passing expertise on to the Timorese. It is extremely important that this becomes second nature for every foreign professional working with UNTAET. As the process of Timorization moves ahead, time and space should be made for the Timorese to make decisions, otherwise, Timorese will increasingly feel as on-lookers, powerless and frustrated.

It is important to make it clear here that we are not moved by any kind of xenophobia. We only feel an urgency to grasp this unique opportunity while we still have hundreds of foreign qualified technicians in the country. It is a way to speed up vocational training of the Timorese.

I think it would be worth reminding the community of donor countries of the need for resources to speed up the pace of Timorese staff recruitment programme.


3. Please allow me to go a little further and paint a picture of our political process.

But before I do that I would ask your permission to remember the Agreement signed on 5 May 1999. It is a consequence of the legal framework of this Agreement that UNTAET is in Timor Lorosae to prepare the Timorese for independence.

We have high respect for democratic opinions, which maintain that future elections in Timor Lorosae should involve parties that advocate integration into Indonesia. The 5 May Agreement led to the Popular Consultation at which 98% of registered voters participated. They did this during a wave of violence and threats made by many tens of thousands of frightened Timorese exhorting them to vote for autonomy, for integration into Indonesia. The result of all conflict is that those tens of thousands of Timorese, now refugees, want to come back to Timor but are being prevented to do so because of reasons we are all aware of.

The last thing that CNRT wants to see is Timor setting a precedence of instability for the UN member countries because there is an intention of forcing the Timorese to accept parties that may subvert sovereignty of our future nation. We are worried about the precedent this would set for situations in Indonesia, and in Eastern Europe and we are also worried about situations in Asia that raise issues of national sovereignty and integrity.

From UNAMET to UNTAET, from INTERFET to PKF, the international community is in Timor Lorosae to reinstate international lawfulness. Our sole appeal is that there should not be a repetition of mistakes in perception in Timor, mistakes that have resulted in severe sacrifices and suffering to our people.


Last August we held the National Congress of CNRT at which, in a democratic and passionate way, since it was the first political act of that kind to be held in a territory free at last, we debated the fundamental political, economical and social development issues in Timor Lorosae.

CNRT is consolidating itself as a mobilizing force for our people who are on the difficult path towards independence. The process that will make the Timorese dream come true in their struggle for national independence will depend upon the following essential outcomes:


As CNRT has announced on several occasions, independence could take place towards the end of next year, this calendar will obviously be subject to technical difficulties of implementation because of the bad state of roads and the current climatic conditions.

CNRT thinks that these are the steps that are required to ensure an orderly and peaceful political transition towards independence. CNRT also thinks that it is extremely important to establish a policy of commitment among the groups that make up the Timorese social fabric toward ensuring National Unity and the necessary political stability for the implementation of multiparty democracy and a smooth development process in a future independent State of Timor Lorosae.

I thank all of you for your attention.

CNRT/CN President

National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT)
The CNRT was established as the peak body of the East Timorese people's resistance to the Indonesian occupation of East Timor. Its members are drawn from all walks of life and political viewpoints, including the major political parties. Now that Indonesia has left and the administration of East Timor is being taken over by the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), CNRT is restructuring itself to play a new role. This involves moving from opposition to proposition and the facilitation of transition to self-government and independence. See: Nov 1999 [42K] The CNRT in Transition & Aug 2000 CNRT National Congress: Draft resolution on human rights
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