I would first like to thank the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Ameerah Haq, for her briefing and, more generally, for her work. I also thank Mr. Zacarias da Costa, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, for having made the trip to take part in our debate today.
France associates itself with the statement to be delivered on behalf of the European Union.
Since our last meeting, held in February (6487th meeting), and the adoption of resolution 1969 (2011), Timor-Leste has progressed on the way to stability and return to the exercise of its full sovereignty. We are impressed by the successful transfer, on 27 March, of executive power from the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) to the Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL). Another source of satisfaction is the continuing low crime rate.
The political maturity shown by the leaders, the successful holding of their debates and the establishment of electoral bodies have given hope that the presidential and legislative elections slated for 2012 will be conducted in a satisfactory manner and, equally important, that the losing candidates will accept the choices made at the polls. The presence of international observers will help to bolster that credibility, if necessary. The elections will be the opportunity for the country to show that it has definitely turned the page on the 2006 crisis.
On the economic front, the report of the Secretary-General (S/2011/641) quite rightly highlights the importance of the Strategic Development Plan for 2011-2030, which was recently approved by Parliament.
The Security Council, in its resolution 1969 (2011), set the course for a responsible drawdown of UNMIT personnel, in tandem with a reconfiguration of its functions towards support and training. That will enable it to maintain a credible presence during the elections and ensure its rapid departure thereafter, which would then create a space for a new kind of United Nations presence.
We commend UNMIT and the Government of Timor-Leste on the quality of their joint transition plan to lay the groundwork for the Mission’s departure. The plan is a great help in identifying the areas of cooperation that we wish to see taken up in the future.
The number of deployed UNMIT police officers was reduced from 1,480 early in January to 1,195 by the end of September. It is important that there be enough officers during the election to serve as a deterrent and to intervene if requested to do so by the authorities. Therefore, while we must consider developments in the situation on the ground, we must also have a strategic view of the pace and location of the planned adjustments, in particular during the post-electoral period.
Finally, I have a few words about the United Nations presence following the withdrawal of UNMIT. The four models identified in the report of the Secretary-General show that many approaches are possible and that each has its own merits. What is important is to begin a dialogue with the Timorese authorities following the 2012 elections so as to determine which of the models to choose.