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23 October 2009 - Security Council: Timor-Leste - Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(translation of statement made in French)

The Permanent Representative of Sweden will shortly deliver a statement on behalf of the European Union, with which France associates itself.

Allow me to make a few additional remarks.

First, I wish to welcome presence of the Deputy Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, Mr. José Luís Guterres, among us and to convey to him France’s congratulations on the successful celebration of the tenth anniversary of the 1999 self-determination referendum. That anniversary is an opportunity to take stock of the impressive path taken by the country on the way towards independence, peace and prosperity. That success is primarily owed to the Timorese people and political officials. However, it would not have been possible without the commitment of the international community.

In that regard, I would like to pay tribute to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the occasion of his last appearance before our Council. In the many years that he has spent in East Timor, Mr. Atul Khare has worked tirelessly beside and for the people. Through his discreet but effective action to support the authorities, he played a part in the emergence of a new State on the international scene. Allow me to underscore the very positive role also played by neighbouring countries, in particular Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand, whose support has contributed to maintaining stability in the country.

Consolidating the progress achieved will take time. The events of 2006 demonstrated the consequences of a hasty withdrawal of the United Nations. The reassuring presence of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and the international security forces will therefore continue to be essential to stability in the near future. We are pleased that, as Mr. Khare has just explained, UNMIT’s activity is part of a medium-term strategy aimed at having the Timorese progressively take over the tasks currently undertaken by the United Nations. With respect in particular to the transfer of responsibility for law and order in the districts, it will be possible in six months to assess the situation and draw the appropriate lessons in adapting the Mission’s mandate, format and composition.

In that connection, we welcome the forthcoming technical assessment mission to Timor-Leste, pursuant to the demand made by the Security Council and the Secretary-General for improved follow-up to peacekeeping operations, particularly with regard to police activities. The technical assessment mission will also allow us to update the Mission’s planning documents, pursuant to resolution 1867 (2009). The Secretary-General quite rightly emphasizes in his report (S/2009/504) the importance to lasting reconciliation of combating impunity for past crimes. We share the concerns expressed by the Special Representative and reiterate our support for UNMIT’s activities in support of the Prosecutor-General of Timor-Leste, including with respect to the Serious Crimes Investigation Team.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU