East Timor: Statement by Ambassador Pierre Schori, Permanent Representative of Sweden on behalf of the European Union
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, and the Associated countries, Cyprus, Malta and Turkey, as well as the EFTA country member of the EEA, Iceland, align themselves with this statement.
I would like to commend the Secretary General's Special Representative, Mr Sérgio Vieira de Mello, and all the women and men of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor and its partner organisations for their efforts to meet one of the greatest challenges facing the United Nations: leading East Timor towards independence. The EU reaffirms its solidarity with the people of East Timor and its support for UNTAET.
In October 1999, the Security Council established UNTAET with the broadest mandate ever given to a UN peace operation, with responsibility for the administration of a territory vastly devastated by those unwilling to accept the results of the popular consultation. In light of the complexity of the task, the progress achieved has been considerable and merits our deep appreciation. In the Secretary-General's latest report (S/2001/42), now before us, he concludes that the United Nations has cause to be proud of what has been accomplished in East Timor. The European Union agrees and encourages UNTAET to continue its work.
The European Union would like to take this opportunity to stress the importance of learning from the UNTAET experiences. Some of the lessons learned from East Timor are already reflected in the Brahimi report, which outlines a number of recommendations to better prepare the UN system for complex peace operations.
The European Union pays tribute to the military component of UNTAET. While the situation in West Timor continues to constitute a threat to the security situation in East Timor - I will return to this later - the peacekeeping force has done an excellent work on re-establishing and upholding safety and security throughout the territory of East Timor. But this has not been without cost. The European Union would not like to miss this occasion to recall the tragic loss of the New Zealand, Nepalese and Portuguese peacekeepers.
At the same time the European Union strongly supports the gradual transfer to local ownership of law and order to the East Timorese. In that context, the European Union encourages UNTAET to accelerate the training process of the East Timorese Police Force, although recognising that an international police presence will be needed after independence. The European Union expresses its appreciation for the excellent work of the civilian police in keeping law and order throughout East Timor. The Union is however concerned by reports of increasing criminality, particularly violence against women.
During the past six months, progress has been made to integrate the East Timorese into all major decision-making within the administration. The European Union particularly welcomes the inclusion of Mr. José Ramos Horta, who is present here today, as Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs.
The European Union would, however, like to emphasise the need to further strengthen national capacity-building in all governance areas. The "timorization" efforts within the Transitional Administration must be pushed forward, and the role of UNTAET should gradually change from execution to an advisory role. Greater efforts can be made to strengthen capacity-building including through on-the-job-training. It is essential to involve the East Timorese in a broad representative manner, including women and youth, in the policymaking and administrative structure at all levels during the transition period.
The European Union welcomes the effort of UNTAET to inform the population of progress in this respect, but understands the natural desire of the East Timorese to accelerate this progress.
UNTAET has now fully embarked on the transition from emergency relief activities to sustainable development and administration building. Despite the difficulties encountered, the European Union is pleased to note that significant improvements have been achieved in providing schooling and health care.
The European Union takes note of the Secretary-General's comments on the judicial system in East Timor, and welcomes that the first measures against those persons who committed serious crimes during the violence in 1999 have been taken. The European Union also stresses the importance of strengthening the judicial system in East Timor, which will be the guarantor of democracy.
It also welcomes that the fact that the trial has commenced in Jakarta against those accused of the deplorable killings of three UNHCR staff members in West Timor last September, and the arrest of the suspected perpetrators of the killing of a UN peacekeeper. The European Union calls on the Government of Indonesia to continue all necessary efforts to bring the perpetrators of serious crimes, committed during the violence in September 1999 and before, to justice. It also takes note of the efforts being made by the Indonesian Attorney General concerning the investigation of human rights violations in East Timor, and calls on the Indonesian Government to follow the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding signed with UNTAET. The investigation process and the bringing to justice of those responsible for the atrocities that followed the popular consultation must not be delayed. The European Union also encourages the Indonesian judicial authorities to continue the co-operation with the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The European Union emphasises the importance of a reconciliation process, and welcomes the contacts made between some pro-integration leaders and the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT) and the forthcoming Truth, Reception and Reconciliation Commission. Furthermore, it believes that there exists at present a sincere willingness to find ways and means to re-establish trust and confidence among all East Timorese.
The European Union shares the Secretary General's appraisal of the timetable for independence for East Timor late in this year, as well as the National Council's endorsement of a political calendar for the transition to independence. The European Union notes that UNTAET will be fully responsible for the conduct of the elections, with the support of the Secretariat, in particular DPA's Electoral Assistance Division. The Union urges UNTAET to continue its efforts to ensure that free and fair elections and the establishment of the Constituent Assembly can take place within the timeframe to be agreed by the Mission and the East Timorese people. The European Union stresses that the composition of the Constituent Assembly reflect broad political participation and allow for an open and truly democratic debate. The European Union also considers that the UN Secretariat has a role to play in conducting the elections and implementing a broad civic education campaign.
The European Union fully supports UNTAET's and East Timor's goal of developing mechanisms for good governance. The value of a lean, efficient and transparent administrative system cannot be overstated as a means of achieving a democratic and prosperous society.
Closely linked to the political transition is the security situation in East Timor. Despite considerable improvements there are still reasons for concern. The European Union reiterates its full endorsement of the recommendations in Security Council resolution 1319 (2000), and urges the Indonesian Government to continue its efforts to implement the resolution without further delay. The Union also fully supports the recommendations made by the Security Council Mission to East Timor and Indonesia in its report from last November (S/2000/1105).
The European Union strongly condemns the continued activities of militia groups in West Timor, which have a destabilising impact on the transition to independence in East Timor. It is therefore imperative to finally put an end to these activities in line with Security Council resolution 1319 (2000).
A prompt disbanding of the militia groups is essential to reach a solution to the refugee situation in West Timor. The European Union would like to recall the urgent need for a quick settlement. The unresolved matter could have serious repercussions on the political situation in East Timor and might be a factor that could jeopardise the transition process.
The refugees must be given a free choice whether to return to East Timor or resettle in Indonesia, including through a credible registration process. The establishment of security in the refugee camps, the resumption of humanitarian assistance, a solution of the refugee situation and support for reconciliation are essential for the creation of lasting peace and stability in East Timor. The Union is deeply committed, together with the international humanitarian organisations, to continue to play an active role in this regard.
The European Union has noted the observation in the Secretary-General's report that it might be necessary to maintain what is now the UNTAET military component after independence at a strength to be determined in the light of developments. The Union understands that a gradual downsizing of this component will take place only if an objective assessment of the security situation by UNTAET shows that this is appropriate. It is crucially important that security assistance be provided for the independent state.
The European Union welcomes UNTAET plans and the efforts of a number of interested Governments for the establishment of an East Timorese Defence Force and notes that this will draw initially from the Armed Forces for the National Liberation of East Timor (FALINTIL). With regard to those FALINTIL members who will not join the ETDF, the European Union welcomes the plans for the reintegration programme organised by the IOM and the World Bank.
The role of the European Union is the biggest contributor to the East Timorese development process was most recently re-affirmed at the donors' meeting in Brussels last December. The Union agrees that there will be a continued need for development co-operation by the international community and is ready to assume its part in further assisting the rehabilitation of East Timor and its transition to independence. The European Union recognises the role of International Financial Institutions and UN Agencies, particularly the UNDP and the World Bank, and encourages them to continue to play their part.
The European Union supports the proposal by the Secretary-General to extend the mandate of UNTAET until 31 December 2001 and looks forward to the Secretary-General's recommendations on the plan for a new integrated follow-on operation, that would function in the independent East Timor. It is important that no vacuum is created in connection with the transition to independence.
The European Union will continue to follow the process closely and to support the work of the United Nations and the Secretary-General. As stated earlier, we believe that there are reasons for the United Nations to be proud of what has been accomplished so far in East Timor. We must work together to ensure that the UNTAET mission becomes a success - not only for the United Nations, but most importantly, for the people of East Timor.