Subject: AUSGOV: UN - Successor Mission for East Timor

Media Release

FA57 - 2 May 2005 UN - Successor Mission for East Timor

I welcome the UN Security Councilís decision to establish a successor mission to the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).

The decision reflects the international communityís on-going commitment to help the Government and people of Timor-Leste build a stable and democratic nation.

The shape of the new mission, to be known as the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL), illustrates the progress made to date. UNMISETís focus on peace-keeping, which reflected realities on the ground, will be replaced by an emphasis on peace-building in recognition of the stability of Timor-Lesteís borders. This will allow the United Nations and bilateral donors to use their resources to help Timor-Lesteís development as a nation.

While the form of Australiaís support for UNOTIL is still under consideration, we will certainly offer a commitment broadly commensurate with our contribution to previous missions. In doing so, we will seek to identify areas where we can make a real contribution to the United Nationís efforts.

Australia has a longstanding and enduring history of support for East Timorís stability and security, including through our bilateral development program which has exceeded A$400 million since 1999.

A joint AusAID / Australian Federal Police program worth $40 million is providing long-term support for the development of a professional and adequately resourced national police force and is working to strengthen other aspects of the justice system.

The Australian Government, through AusAID, is also providing support to Timor Lesteís Ministry of Planning and Finance to ensure the transparent and accountable management of public funds. This should contribute to better service delivery for the people of Timor Leste.

Over the past five years Australia has also provided around $40 million for the Defence Cooperation Programme in Timor Leste and its proposed to continue this level of commitment for the foreseeable future.

This is currently Australiaís second largest Defence Cooperation Programme with 24 ADF and Defence personnel providing training and advice to the Timor Leste Defence Force.

Australia is committed to remaining a long-term development partner of Timor Leste to help build its capacity to govern a peaceful, democratic and independent nation.

Media inquiries : Ministerial 02 6277 7500 , DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555


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