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19 October 2010 - Security Council - The situation in Timor-Leste - Statement by Mr. Martin Briens, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

UN translation

At the outset I would like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for her briefing, which has given us an overview of what has taken place since 2006 and the creation of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).

The representative of the European Union will shortly make a statement, and France associates itself with that statement.

I wish to make a few comments. I am pleased to note that the Secretary-General’s report (S/2010/522) and the statement by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General have characterized the situation in Timor-Leste as calm. The political and security stability in the country is a result of the responsible positions taken by the elected officials in the Government and the opposition. What better proof can there be of the political maturity gained by the Timorese and of the solidity of their young institutions.

As we progress beyond tensions and violence we must keep in mind the goal of peacebuilding in Timor- Leste. From that standpoint we can only be encouraged by the controlled transfer of the duties with regard to law and order to the national police force in Timor- Leste. The transfer has been carried out in 10 out of the 13 districts without seeing an increase in incidents in those areas. The remaining transfers in Dili and in the border districts must not be carried out in haste. They must be done based on criteria established by local authorities and the United Nations.

This process is accompanied by a progressive reduction in the number of United Nations police officers deployed individually and that reduction is to be pursued in 2011. The drawdown should be supported through technical assistance and training. Strengthening police capacity is a priority but we must not lose sight of the fact that in the medium term all security sectors must benefit from these efforts.

Peace will only take root if the Timorese have faith in their justice system. In particular, fighting impunity for crimes carried out in the past is an essential condition for lasting reconciliation. The certification process of Timorese police officers is incomplete, and there are some 200 cases still pending. Moreover, the Secretary-General’s report points out that there has been little progress in trying those individuals responsible for crimes and human rights violations committed during the incidents of 2006. We hope that those efforts will be pursued in line with the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.

We have taken note, as have others, of the decision by the President of Timor-Leste to commute the sentences of some individuals who are responsible for political violence. Although that decision is constitutional, it does not send a good signal.

We therefore encourage the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to remain actively involved in this matter, in accordance with the mandate entrusted to her by the Security Council.

We have also noted the economic forecasts contained in the report. They show that there is impressive growth of 10.4 per cent, and a drop in the poverty level as well. It is encouraging that in this context the Timorese authorities have set their long-term priorities within a national development strategic plan, which is now, thanks to the Prime Minister himself, under consideration throughout the country.

The year 2012 will see the end of the UNMIT mandate in its present configuration and it will also see general elections.

The United Nations must be able to have on site the material and human resources required to facilitate the holding of the elections. They must take account of that important deadline in their security transfer strategy.

The renewal of the UNMIT mandate in February 2011 should also lead us to reflect on the future presence of the United Nations. We are open to the modalities that must reflect the progressive assumption by the Timorese of the tasks now being carried out by UNMIT and the objective of lasting peacebuilding.

The upcoming Security Council visit to Dili, in which we will participate, will be another opportunity for us to see how much has been done and to reflect on the future relationship between Timor-Leste and the United Nations.

I wish to conclude by reaffirming France’s support for UNMIT and for Special Representative. Ms. Haq had just assumed her responsibilities in February 2010. Since then she has shown how skilled she is and she has met all our expectations.

We need her skill and good will, because the months to come will be crucial for the future of Timor-Leste and also for the United Nations and its capacity to bring a country to peace and stability.

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