– As delivered –
I have the honor to speak on behalf of the EU and its member states.
The Acceding country Croatia*, the candidate countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland+ and Serbia*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
First and foremost, Mr President, I congratulate the current and preceding Timor-Leste governments for the tremendous progress made towards stabilization and recovery since the restoration of independence in 2002. On the eve of UNMIT’s departure I would also like to express our sincere gratitude to successive Special Representatives and to all UNMIT personnel for their substantial contribution. Finally, I join others in thanking Acting SRSG Finn Reske-Nielsen for his briefing and the Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste José Luis Guterres for his statement.
Over the past decade, Timor-Leste has accomplished impressive progress in terms of stability, democracy, rule of law, human rights and economic growth. Since the Security Council debate on UNMIT in February this year, Timor-Leste has witnessed several new milestones, including successful and peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections, as observed by an EU-Election Observation Mission. The withdrawal of UNMIT by the end of this year, 10 years after the country reinstated its independence, is a logical step on this path and a clear sign of Timor-Leste’s national commitment to consolidate the capacity of its institutions.
However, as noted by the Secretary-General in his latest report, several challenges remain, in particular as a result of persisting human resource capacity constraints, namely in socio-economic development and justice.
To address these challenges it is important, in our view, to build on the progress already made and to focus on the effective implementation of the remainder of the Joint Transition Plan as well as the reforms already endorsed. We welcome the new Government’s 5 year programme, as well as the Strategic Development Plan, which aims to further advance the previous Government’s actions and to set a course for a sustainable future. In this regard we underline the importance of a continuous focus on the rule of law, human rights and access to justice. In this context, it will be important to maintain the engagement of, and support by, the international community.
We furthermore firmly believe that reconciliation is an important precondition for long-term stability. We therefore look forward to the National Parliament’s renewed discussions on the two draft laws on the Memorial Institute and Reparations, and on the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.
We believe that following UNMIT’s departure the UN presence in Timor-Leste for the coming years should be designed to support the ongoing consolidation efforts and to build on the significant achievements of UNMIT’s activities to date, in close coordination with the Timorese authorities. We acknowledge the preferences expressed by Timor-Leste in this regard and stand ready to support the outcome of the discussions between Timor-Leste’s government and the UN.
We commend Timor-Leste’s achievements at the regional and international level, in particular through establishing strong and cordial ties with its neighbours and through its driving role as co-chair of the g7+. We welcome Timor-Leste’s candidacy for membership of ASEAN, its active role within the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, and its integration into the Pacific through cooperation under the Pacific Island Forum’s regional programme.
In conclusion Mr. President,
We have stood by Timor-Leste’s side through challenging times and remain committed to do so in the future. We are currently preparing our development support for 2014 to 2020 in close consultation with national authorities, which will – of course – be based on Timor-Leste’s National Strategic Development Plan. It will also ensure alignment with the New Deal of the g7+.
As the focus is shifting from security and stability to development issues, we encourage others to remain strongly engaged as well, supporting Timor-Leste’s development process. We are confident that Timor-Leste will continue to be a successful example of national leadership in institution building and socio-economic development.
* Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of EFTA and the European Economic Area.