Thank you for giving the floor to the European Union.
The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Iceland+, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Serbia, and the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
First and foremost, I would like to congratulate President Ramos-Horta and the government of Timor-Leste with the continued progress as manifestly spelled out in the SG report before us. The government’s leadership in fostering peace, unity and development continues to bear fruit.
I would also like to thank SRSG Ameerah Haq for her briefing. Your team’s efforts towards stabilization and recovery deserve much praise. We also commend the thorough way in which your team is preparing for the departure of UNMIT and the necessary transition of the work of the international community.
Over the years Timor-Leste accomplished impressive progress in terms of stability, democracy, rule of law, human rights and economic growth. It has demonstrated to the international community its resolve to stay the course, with this year’s elections as yet another important milestone. The gradual downsizing and proposed ultimate withdrawal of UNMIT by the end of this election year are logical steps on this path.
We share the Secretary General’s positive appraisal of the steady progress in preparing the presidential and parliamentary elections. Particularly encouraging is the constructive and responsible manner in which political leaders, security forces, and civil society have been interacting, at national and local level, to ensure a safe and responsible electoral process, consistent with previous occasions.
In view of the coming electoral period and the challenges created thereby, continued close cooperation between the PNTL and UNPOL, as mutually agreed, remains important.
Next week an EU Election Exploratory Mission will visit Timor-Leste to assess the merit and feasibility of an EU Election Observation Mission for the upcoming parliamentary elections. A decision on the deployment of such a Mission will be taken in the immediate weeks thereafter.
In addition to consolidating democracy, reconciliation remains an important precondition for Timor Leste’s long-term stability. We call on the National Parliament to resume 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.
Another element that in our view requires continued attention is security sector reform. Although considerable progress has been achieved as regards higher standards of professionalism and discipline, accountability mechanisms, and integrity of the security forces, we encourage Timor-Leste to continue and consolidate its efforts.
Turning to the post-UNMIT landscape, we believe that the necessary decisions need to be taken in coordination between the Timorese government and the UN. Whichever set-up will be decided upon, from a European perspective it should be designed to ensure a smooth transition, without any significant gaps, and to preserve the considerable achievements of UNMIT’s activities to date.
We also believe that appropriate follow-up needs to be ensured of UNMIT’s important work on, among others, justice, rule of law and human rights, including through a continuation of support to the “Provedor” for Human Rights and Justice. In this context the creation of a local office of the High Commission for Human Rights could also be an option worth exploring.
We have stood by Timor-Leste’s side through its challenging times and remain committed to do so in the future. As the focus is shifting from security and stability to development issues, the international community should remain strongly engaged.
With the adoption of the National Strategic Development Plan, the implementation of the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States and continuous efforts of Development Partners, we are confident that Timor-Leste will continue to be a successful example in terms of State-building and socio-economic development.
We fully support the extension of the Mission’s mandate until December 31 2012 and look forward to the next SG’s report assessing the elections and providing recommendations on the way forward to the successful completion of UNMIT’s mandate and the eventual establishment of a post-UNMIT UN presence in Timor-Leste.
* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.