Subject: East Timor Heading in Right Direction: UN President

Also: East Timor: Pledging continued aid, UN leader hails Dili's achievements

Received from Joyo Indonesia News

Agence France Presse

July 30, 2003

East Timor heading in right direction: UN president

DILI,

The United Nations General Assembly president, Jan Kavan, said Wednesday that he was very impressed by progress East Timor had achieved since it gained independence last year.

"I am personally convinced that you are going in the right direction," Kavan told journalists here before departing for New York following a three-day visit.

The United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), which includes about 3,800 peacekeeping troops, bows out on May 20 next year. It took over from a much larger mission following East Timor's independence on May 20, 2002.

Kavan said that the main purpose of his visit was to discuss with Timorese leaders the UN presence in East Timor and to hear their views about the areas in which a UN presence in the country might still be needed.

Kavan said as one of the poorest countries in the world East Timor should focus on road infrastructure, health, education and security.

The UN is still needed especially to train police and strengthen the judiciary, he said.

Pro-Jakarta militias, backed by Indonesian troops, waged a savage intimidation campaign before East Timor's August 1999 independence vote and a revenge campaign afterwards during which tens of thousands were forced over the border into West Timor.

An estimated 1,000 people were murdered. The territory finally gained independence last May after a period of UN stewardship.

[This message was distributed via the east-timor news list.]

UNMISET PRESS RELEASE

President of UN General Assembly 'convinced Timor-Leste is heading in the right direction'

(Dili, 30 July) The President of the 57th session of the UN General Assembly, H.E. Jan Kavan, this afternoon ended his 4-day visit to Timor-Leste saying that he was very impressed by the lengthy discussions he has held with the Timorese leadership. "I am personally convinced that you are going in the right direction", Mr. Kavan told journalists at Dili's airport before departing for New York.

Mr. Kavan told journalists that the main purpose of his visit was to discuss with Timorese leaders the UN presence in Timor-Leste. He also wanted to hear their views about the areas in which a post-UNMISET UN presence in the country may still be needed, and what form this presence should take. He said that he was very impressed by all the remarkable achievements since the restoration of independence. At the same time, Timor-Leste is the poorest country in Asia and one of the poorest in the world, and it faces problems similar to those faced by many poor countries.

Mr. Kavan mentioned agriculture, the road infrastructure, health, education and security as the priorities he personally feels Timor-Leste should focus on.

As for the areas where there should be continued UN involvement post-UNMISET, Mr. Kavan told journalists that he personally feels that the UN should focus on police training, in particular, middle management, operating procedures, specialist training and human rights, and focus too on strengthening the judiciary. "From the experience in my own country, it is relatively easy to create institutions but to make it work properly, democratically, that is another matter", he said, adding that it does take time.

Mr. Kavan said that he would recommend to the Secretary-General and to the Security Council that a Security Council delegation should visit Timor-Leste, perhaps in December, "to see for themselves and evaluate your needs".


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