Subject: LUSA: Pledging continued aid, UN leader hails Dili's achievements

Also: President of UN GA pays tribute to victims of ’99 Church killings

Dili, July 29 (Lusa) - The president of the UN General Assembly, Jan Kavan, has praised the progress achieved by East Timor since its independence 14 months ago and promised continued international support for the world`s newest nation.

Recognizing the "formidable obstacles" still facing Dili, Kavan told the East Timorese legislature Monday the country could count on international backing in dealing with its "most critical" problems.

The former Czech foreign minister called specific attention to UN aid in helping Dili build its judicial system and police forces.

"I strongly believe that the international community will continue to back its new member", Kavan told the lawmakers on the second day of a four-day visit, describing East Timor as a "model of what can be achieved" in a post-conflict scenario.

Kavan, who ends his trip Wednesday, has held separate meetings with President Xanana Gusmão, Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri and Parliament Speaker Francisco Guterres.

ASP/SAS Lusa

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U N M I S E T

United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor

UNMISET PRESS RELEASE

President of UN GA pays tribute to victims of ’99 Church killings

(Dili, 30 July) The President of the 57th session of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Jan Kavan, yesterday paid tribute to the people who died in Suai Church in 1999. “They truly paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, we should always remember their sacrifice and should ensure that Timor-Leste’s future is one of peace, democracy and commitment to human rights”, said Mr. Kavan. He was addressing the relatives of the victims and other Suai residents after laying a wreath at the ‘Black September Heroes’ Monument in memory of the victims of the 1999 killings. He travelled to Suai and Baucau yesterday on the second day of his visit to Timor-Leste. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste, Ambassador Kamalesh Sharma, accompanied him throughout.

The Cova Lima District Administrator, Abel dos Santos Fátima, welcomed Mr. Kavan to Suai and recalled that the people of Suai had ‘accumulated much suffering’. He singled out the 1999 killings and the recent flooding as examples. Mr. Kavan said he was proud that the UN, through UNMISET and the specialised agencies, could help the government in assisting the people in flood-hit areas.

He then turned on to the wider challenges facing Timor-Leste. Mr. Kavan said he was pleased with he remarkable achievements made in such a short a period of time [since the restoration of independence] but that of course many challenges remained for the Timorese people. “But I am most confident that the RDTL government and you, the Timorese people, will continue to show your spirit and courage to achieve peace and prosperity for all”. He assured them that “the UN and of course all your friends in the international community will continue to support you for many years to come”.

Mr. Kavan then toured Kamenasa, one of the areas affected by the recent flooding. Residents explained to Mr. Kavan and to the SRSG why the area tends to get flooded and what could be done to prevent it from happening again. They were particularly pleased with the assistance of the Thai Battalion of PKF who were very quick in evacuating and subsequently sheltering people during the flooding, with help from UNPOL and PNTL.

Earlier in the day he visited the headquarters of PKF in Sector West [Liquia, Ermera, Ainaro, Bobonaro and Cova Lima districts]. He was greeted by a PKF Fijian guard of honour and briefed on the general security situation and PKF operations by the Sector West Commander, Colonel Jim Bancroft. He also visited the Slovak Mobile Hospital and learnt of their vital role in helping the community in Suai. Nowadays, for every UN patient treated, 2 to 3 Timorese patients are seen, many of whom are pregnant women, and the Slovak medical team has delivered tens of babies in recent months, including twins.

From Suai, Mr. Kavan travelled to Baucau where he paid a courtesy call to Bishop Basílio do Nascimento and visited the PKF Portuguese Marines stationed in Baucau. The Commander of the Portuguese Battalion (PORBATT), Lieutenant-Colonel José Conde, briefed Mr. Kavan on the security situation and PKF operations in the PORBATT sector [Dili, Baucau, Manufahi, Manatuto, Aileu and Viqueque districts].

This morning, Mr. Kavan addresses the students at Dili National University before departing Dili for New York.


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