Subject: UN envoy voices concern over weakening int'l police strength
also EU supports building security before withdrawing UN from East Timor; China calls for more efforts to promote process of peaceful nation-building in Timor-Leste
UN envoy voices concern over weakening int'l police strength in Timor-Leste
10:56, October 24, 2009
Any drawdown of international security forces in Timor-Leste should proceed with caution, the top United Nations envoy to the South Pacific nation warned here Friday.
The UN secretary-general's special representative, Atul Khare, made the statement ahead of UN and government reviews of the world body's peacekeeping presence in the fledgling country.
In his final address to the Security Council, Khare said that President Jose Ramos-Horta and other leaders of Timor-Leste do not wish to be continually dependent on the deployment of UN police units in their country.
"I also believe that the long-term sustainability of Timor-Leste's efforts depends on the ability of its own institutions to operate in a democratic, responsible and effective manner," said Khare, who heads the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).
"At every step of the way, UNMIT and the UN country team have consciously endeavored to work in a manner that enhances the capacity and credibility of the institutions of this young nation," said Khare.
The special representative noted, however, that the success in supporting security forces instead of taking the lead in law enforcement means that progress depends on the rate of which local institutions develop, which can also include setbacks.
"The touchstone for success in Timor-Leste is not whether crises occur, but how future crises are met and resolved," said Khare. "The goal should be to ensure that they are handled in a responsible manner that does not threaten the state, and instead provide an opportunity for enhanced social cohesion and development."
He said that the future presence and role of the international security forces needs to be carefully taken into account in planning any modification of the composition and size of UNMIT.
Current UNMIT strength stands at 1,578 police officers, 33 military personnel, around 1,200 international and local civilian staff and 195 UN Volunteers.
"The United Nations and the government of Timor-Leste should jointly agree on the criteria for each step in the process of downsizing the UNMIT police," said Khare. "It should be clearly agreed with the authorities, in advance of each stage, what support the UN will and will not provide."
The UN presence in Timor-Leste began in 1999 when it conducted a "popular consultation" which saw a huge turnout of Timorese overwhelmingly vote for independence over autonomy within Indonesia. The eventual result was the birth of the State, but 1,500 to 2,000 people were killed in clashes in the immediate aftermath of the declaration.
UNMIT received its mandate to restore public safety in the wake of an eruption of violence in 2006 -- attributed to differences between eastern and western regions of the country -- when 600 striking soldiers were fired, and the ensuing hostilities claimed dozens of lives and drove 155,000 people, or 15 percent of the total population, from their homes.
In his most recent report on UNMIT earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that the causes underlying the 2006 crisis, including the rising level of poverty, persistent unemployment, the lack of an effective land and property regime, and under-strength justice and security sectors, could still destabilize the country.
EU supports building security before withdrawing UN from East Timor
Posted : Fri, 23 Oct 2009 18:10:39 GMT
By : dpa
New York - The European Union concurred with the United Nations Friday on the need to strengthen East Timor's capability to handle its own security before the UN mission there can be withdrawn. During a debate in the UN Security Council on the situation of East Timor, known also as Timor Leste, Swedish Ambassador Anders Liden said the island nation's recent successful elections and relief to displaced people are signs of maturity.
"At the same time, the process of handing over responsibilities to the national police force must continue with a view to setting the ground for a future transition and drawdown of the UN mission," Liden said. Sweden currently holds the rotating EU chairmanship.
The EU is among organizations and countries that provide significant financial assistance to the government in Dili. The UN mission in East Timor has about 2,800 staff, most of them international police sent to train an East Timorese police force.
The international community has provided security and development aid for East Timor since it gained independence from Indonesia 10 years ago.
Thailand's UN Ambassador Norachit Sinhaseni, speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), called for clarity in the UN mission's future presence in East Timor in order to work out an effective transition to the national police force.
"We should all strive for a nation-building process that is a process of, by and for the people of Timor-Leste," Sinhaseni said. "ASEAN stands firm in solidarity of Timore-Leste as a regional partner and, above all, a friend."
The UN special envoy for East Timor, Atal Khare, told the council that Dili held local elections in October in a "generally peaceful atmosphere" with the help of the UN and national police. Some 67 per cent of eligible voters cast ballots.
Khare said national elections planned in 2012 would require more international support, including helicopters, to face emergency situations.
"The touchstone for success in Timor-Leste is not whether or not crises occur, but how future crises are met and resolved," Khare said. "The goal should be to ensure that there are handled in a responsible manner that does not threaten the state, and instead provide an opportunity for enhanced social cohesion and development."
China calls for more efforts to promote process of peaceful nation-building in Timor-Leste
10:05, October 24, 2009
China on Friday called on all factions concerned in Timor-Leste to give priority to the interests of the country and people, seize the favorable opportunities at present for restoring peace and promoting development in order to lead the people in focusing their efforts on peaceful nation-building.
The statement came as Zhang Yesui, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, was taking the floor at an open debate of the Timor-Leste issue at the UN Security Council.
To realize the lasting peace and stability in Timor-Leste requires greater efforts to vigorously develop economy and improve the livelihood of the people, Zhang said.
"We note that despite the favorable economic growth momentum in Timor-Leste, the situation in the country remains fragile, and such issues as poverty and high unemployment rate may affect the efforts for stability and development in the country," he said.
Against the current backdrop, China supports the efforts by the government of Time-Leste to continue to maintain stability while placing priority on the building of the infrastructures, developing the capacity of human resources by focusing on economic development and raising the employment rate so as to move effectively to remove the destabilizing effects of the society, he said.
"The international community should also continue to offer all kinds of assistance in order to speed up the process of peaceful nation-building in Timor-Leste," he said.
"Both China and Timor-Leste are members of the big family of Asia and Pacific, we have been following closely the development in the country, we support the efforts for peace, stability and development in Timor-Leste," he said.
In his recent meeting with Prime Minister Alexandre Xanana Gusmao of Timor-Leste, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced that China will provide Timor-Leste with 30 million yuan (some 4.4 million U.S. dollars) of gratis assistance, Zhang said. "We are ready to continue to offer assistance to Timor-Leste within our capacity."