Subject: UN: Timor-Leste at 4th Committee on W Sahara

8/10/2004

Press Release GA/SPD/288

Fifty-ninth General Assembly

Fourth Committee

6th Meeting (PM)

MOROCCO INVITES ALGERIA TO ENTER INTO DIRECT DIALOGUE ON WESTERN SAHARA,

AS FOURTH COMMITTEE CONCLUDES DISCUSSION OF DECOLONIZATION ISSUES

...

As the debate neared its close, most speakers also continued to stress the importance of ending all colonialism before the 2010 term of the Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism. In that effort, many called for greater cooperation by administering Powers, greater dissemination of information concerning the situations of each Territory, the continuation of regional seminars and an increase in missions by the Special Committee.

In that light, the representative of Timor-Leste paid tribute to the representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories, among whose ranks he had been until recently, and recognized the patience of the representatives of Member States who listened to their voices and provided them hope. He welcomed progress in Tokelau. In addition, given their common struggle, he said there were natural bonds of solidarity between his people and those of Western Sahara, as they both shared the bitterness of suffering and exile because of common aspirations for freedom and self-determination. He called on the leaders in the region to work together toward a vision that erased the vestiges of colonialism. ...

Background

The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) met this afternoon to conclude its general debate on decolonization issues.

Statements ...

JOSE LUIS GUTERRES (Timor-Leste) paid tribute to the representatives of the Non-Self-Governing Territories among whose ranks he had been until recently, and recognized the patience of the delegates who had listened to their voices and provided them with hope. There were still 16 Territories too many, and hopefully the Second Decade would continue to call attention to their need for assistance. Timor-Leste welcomed the progress made by the people of Tokelau and the administering Power, New Zealand, as well as the efforts made by CARICOM to integrate the Caribbean Territories into its institutions. It also welcomed the support to the peoples of the Territories given by Member States and specialized agencies of the United Nations.

He said that given their common struggle, there were natural bonds of solidarity between his people and those of Western Sahara, as they both shared the bitterness of suffering and exile because of their common aspirations for freedom and self-determination. Concerned by the slow pace of progress toward the self-determination referendum, despite the encouraging developments, such as the release of war prisoners by the Frente POLISARIO and the maintenance of the ceasefire, Timor-Leste looked to the leaders of the region for a vision that would unite the peoples and countries of the Maghreb in order to erase the remaining traces of colonialism there.

ISMAEL ABRAAO GASPAR MARTINS (Angola) expressed satisfaction at taking the floor after the representative of Timor-Leste, who represented a heroic struggle on the part of his people and persistent work on the part of the Special Committee. There was, however, concern that the remaining 16 Territories would not be able to attain self-determination before the end of the Second International Decade. In that connection, Angola was concerned over the situation in Western Sahara. The Settlement Plan and the Peace Plan were a good basis to peacefully resolve the conflict in that Territory. The parties concerned were encouraged to work together in order to achieve a peaceful resolution of the problem. The time had come to give the people of Western Sahara the opportunity to enjoy their inalienable right to self-determination.

Turning to other areas, he supported visiting missions of the Special Committee to the Territories and urged full cooperation by the administering Powers in that regard. Angola also supported further review mechanisms for progress in implementing the relevant General Assembly resolutions. The United Nations, the European Union and the African Union all had roles to play in assuring adherence to international law in matters of decolonization.

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