Timor-Leste

Secretary-General speaks in Dili

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Secretary-General Kofi Annan addressed today the people of Dili in a speech in the plaza in front of the Governor Office.
According to CivPol, close to 7,000 people attended the address of the Secretary-General, who was accompanied by his Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello, CNRT President Xanana Gusmao, Ambassador Jamsheed Marker, and Mrs. Annan. "Your strength and your dignity have inspired the world," the Secretary-General said. "I want to express my profound revulsion at the murder, mayhem and destruction of last September."

The Secretary-General also said that the devastation he had seen was "far worse" than what he had imagined, and stressed the need for reconciliation. "Reconciliation is essential. Leaders need to work together."

Kofi Annan appealed to the international community to make the money pledged available, but also asked the Timorese for patience. "We want to help you establish, as practical and as quickly as possible, a peaceful, stable, democratic, independent state. But this will take time. And we must all be patient."

Before the address, the Secretary-General met with the widows and relatives of UNAMET staff killed during the violence in the period after the consultation of August the 30th.

In Tetum, Xanana Gusmao said that the Secretary-General was "working hard to help solve our problems throughout the popular consultation," and that now he is continuing that work. "Today we are here to say to the Secretary-General that we trust him and UNTAET, and we will work together with UNTAET and all the international community to develop our country. We believe that the East Timorese people can face all the difficulties that will come in rebuilding East Timor," Xanana Gusmao said.

The East Timorese band Lahane Group sang a number of songs including "The Future Starts Now," which was launched at the Millennium celebration party in Dili, and which invites people to reconcile and rebuild the country.

Before leaving for the airport, the Secretary-General had a press conference, attended by some 60 journalists.

UNTAET plane has an emergency landing in Darwin

A United Nations aircraft with 29 passengers on board plus crew crash-landed today at Darwin's airport, but there were no injuries.

The plane left Dili at 6h30 am today and was forced to land on its belly when its left wheel failed to activate.

The C130 had to overfly the airport for one hour and a half, and landed around 11.40 am.

This is the only UNTAET aircraft in operation on Darwin-Dili route, the main route of supply the mission. The aircraft, used to ferry troops and police reinforcements as well as supplies, will be out of service for sometime.

A plane is expected to replace the C130 by Wednesday.