I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The candidate countries Turkey, Croatia*, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this statement.
The European Union congratulates Timor-Leste on the tenth anniversary of the 30th August referendum, which gave the country its long-awaited independence. The groundbreaking state-building effort which has followed since then is a major achievement, even if many challenges remain. The EU takes this opportunity to remember the many Timorese who lost their lives during the violence at the time of the referendum. We would also like to pay tribute to those who died while serving in the United Nations Mission in Timor-Leste.
As highlighted in the Secretary-Generals latest report, important steps have been taken over the past year to address the security situation and develop the state structures. But the events of February last year were a reminder that the long-term stability and sustainable development of Timor-Leste cannot be taken for granted. UNMIT will play an important role in assisting Timor-Leste also in the period ahead.
The successful conclusion of the local elections on 9 October was another milestone for Timor-Lestes democratic process. The manner in which they were held showed that important progress has been made in institutional capacity-building and democratic governance. We encourage the authorities to conduct the district and municipal elections in 2010 in the same spirit.
It is also encouraging that the security situation in Timor-Leste has remained calm in recent months. Substantial progress has been made in addressing the situation of internally displaced persons. The EU commends the Timor-Leste Government for its accomplishment to close the IDP camps in Dili and Baucau.
The EU concurs with the Secretary-Generals view that UNMIT should, for the time being, maintain its current strength, including the police units capability to assume interim law functions if requested. At the same time, the process of handing over responsibilities to the National Police Force must continue with a view to setting the ground for a future transition and drawdown of UNMIT.
There is a link between security sector reform and the eventual scaling down of UNMIT. We welcome the Governments efforts to further develop a national security policy and to strengthen security sector legal frameworks. The role of the National Defence Forces in a peacetime setting must be defined, and its relationship with the National Police Force be clarified. A comprehensive and coherent concept for the entire security sector should be developed, including the establishment of accountability and civilian oversight mechanisms.
Another critical challenge in the coming period will be to build a sustainable socio-economic system which can create jobs and help fulfil the basic social service functions of a state. The EU encourages Timor-Leste to make use of the Petroleum Fund for future investment projects and to stimulate the non-oil part of the economy, with a focus on job creation and infrastructure.
For the period of 2008 2013, the European Union is providing support of about 200 million euro, with a particular attention paid to key public sector areas. The EU aims to support labour intensive work programmes, mainly through the implementation of the Rural Development Programme.
We welcome the efforts to develop an integrated strategic framework that outlines goals and activities in support of state-building in Timor-Leste. Concrete benchmarks will enable the international community to further focus its assistance to priority areas and facilitate UNMITs eventual drawdown.
We also look forward to the revised national development plan, signalling Government ownership of the process. It will give donors the longer term orientation they need.
Since 1999, the European Union has provided to the people of Timor-Leste more than 800 million euro in development and humanitarian assistance. Our assistance will continue and we look forward to an active partnership with the Government and the people of Timor-Leste, also in the period ahead.
Thank you, Mr. President.
* Croatia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.