For information only - not an official document.
29 January 2001


NEW YORK, 26 January (UN Headquarters) -- In September 1999, East Timor had been "knocked back to year zero", and rebuilding it, and fully securing its independence, required a sustained partnership with the United Nations, the Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs of East Timor Transitional Administration, José Ramos-Horta, told the Security Council today, as the Council held an open debate on the situation there. The debate followed a formal briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Transitional Administrator for East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello.

Mr. Ramos-Horta commended the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) for accelerating participation of Timorese in all branches of the transitional government. Conscious that it could not be forever dependent on the world community for its external defence, an East Timor Defence Force had been created. East Timor would continue to forge regional partnerships, but the plight of the East Timorese being held against their will in squalid camps in West Timor was impeding improved relations between Indonesia and East Timor. The Indonesian authorities must disband the armed gangs, and the United Nations should quickly dispatch a team of security experts to assess the security conditions in West Timor.

The representative of Indonesia reiterated his Government’s firm support to building a mutually beneficial and harmonious relationship with a future independent, democratic and stable East Timor, and said it was, therefore, fully committed to resolving all outstanding issues, including the question of East Timorese refugees. Indonesia was continuing its efforts to disarm the militias, both through persuasion and repressive measures. The Indonesian security apparatus was now in control of the situation in and around the camps along the border with East Timor.

Turning to the work of the United Nations mission, Mr. Vieira de Mello said that it had had been innovative and unprecedented in its breadth, involving not only peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, but also full executive and legislative responsibility –- including for justice –- for governing East Timor and bringing it to independence. Indeed, it had had been called upon to carry out that mandate in a country that had just experienced a trauma of a truly horrific nature. Despite enormous strides, the overall task was "far from complete".

The UNTAET should no longer be seen as an international transitional administration, but rather as a support structure to the "embryonic" government of East Timor, he said. That conceptual and structural shift was the cornerstone of efforts to implement the Security Council’s mandate in East Timor. The final phase had arrived, and international personnel would be needed "well beyond independence". The UNTAET would not be judged solely on how many schools it rebuilt or roofs it replaced, but on how successfully it had assisted the East Timorese in fully realizing their independence. It was vital that the United Nations remain engaged in nurturing that process.

Harri Holkeri (Finland), President of the General Assembly, reported to the Council on his recent week-long visit to the South-East Asia region, during which he had visited Singapore, East Timor and Indonesia. He said that, despite the commendable progress achieved, East Timor would need the assistance and presence of the international community for a long time to come, both to continue to maintain peace and to support reconstruction and nation-building. The international community could not afford to leave East Timor prematurely or without a well prepared strategy. The "Timorization" of local administration was crucial and should be pursued vigorously, but it could not wholly substitute for an international presence.

Mark Malloch Brown, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Chairman of the United Nations Development Group, said there were few more important current tests of the United Nations than helping East Timor to full nationhood. The East Timorese people most needed help in building institutional capacity to manage their own country and meet the needs of their people. To that end, the UNDP, in consultation with its sister agencies and other partners, had already developed a broad plan of action in key areas from direct support to leadership for transition, to human resources, to electoral assistance, to the establishment of a fully functioning justice system.

At the outset of the meeting, Kishore Mahbubani (Singapore), Council President for January, expressed deep condolences to the Government and people of India in connection with an earthquake today in western India. Many speakers echoed the sentiment. At the end of the meeting, the President read out a letter of gratitude from the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations.

Statements were also made by the representatives of the United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Tunisia, France, Jamaica, Colombia, China, Russian Federation, Ireland, Mali, United States, Norway, Ukraine, Mauritius, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Sweden (on behalf of the European Union and associated States), Chile, Brazil, Fiji, Republic of Korea, Philippines and Mozambique.

Klaus Rohland, Country Director for East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Pacific Islands, World Bank; and Luis Valdivieso, Advisor, Asia and Pacific Department, International Monetary Fund, also spoke.

The meeting began at 10:25 a.m. and was suspended at 12:56 p.m. It resumed at 3:19 p.m. and adjourned at 7:17 p.m.

Council Work Programme

When the Security Council met this morning to hold an open debate on the situation in East Timor, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) (document S/2001/42). The report covers UNTAET's activities and developments in East Timor since 27 July 2000. During that period, the Council received three oral briefings, which were published in the Council's records (documents S/PV.4191, S/PV.4203/ S/PV.4236). It also received a report from its own mission that visited the region in November (document S/2000/1105).

In the report, the Secretary-General states that in light of the calendar of transition and the changes that independence will bring, the Council should extend the UNTAET mandate until 31 December. The goal of reaching independence before the end of the year was "ambitious" and left little room for technical or political delays. Once independent, East Timor will still require substantial international support that goes well beyond the kind of assistance normally provided to a developing country. Such support should be provided through an integrated mission under a Special Representative, mandated by the Council and funded from assessed contributions.

The Secretary-General observes that, in the past six months, there has been a concerted effort to accelerate the transfer of authority to the Timorese. With the all-Timorese National Council, the Timorese majority in the Cabinet and the all-Timorese judiciary, they now exercise substantial governmental powers. Timorese civil servants and United Nations international staff work side-by-side in an integrated administration.

While the United Nations retained overall responsibility, in accordance with Security Council resolution 1272 (1999), the Secretary-General envisages the further progressive delegation of authority until authority was finally transferred to the government of the independent State. This was an innovative approach, requiring a great deal of understanding and flexibility from all involved. It is designed to meet the Council's objective, however, of preparing the Timorese for self-government and responding directly to the desire of the Timorese to take charge of their own fate.

Another innovation, according to the report, is the involvement of UNTAET in the creation of the East Timor Defence Force. The establishment of that Force was coordinated by the East Timor Transitional Administration, but depended entirely on the support of the governments that had expressed their readiness to assist. The Secretary-General appeals to those governments to continue their assistance in that important endeavour.

The report expresses concern over the security question. Although infiltration by militia groups from West Timor had decreased in recent months, the threat will remain as long as the Indonesian Government did not disband those groups. This is also an essential step towards the overdue solution of the problem of the refugees, who are still in camps in West Timor. As emphasized by the Council, it is incumbent upon the Indonesian authorities to ensure safety and security in the refugee camps and for international personnel.

As an example of the kind of support East Timor will require beyond independence, the report continues, the East Timor Defence Force will not be fully established by the end of the year and it might, therefore, be necessary to maintain what is now the UNAET military component at a strength to be determined in light of developments. Similarly, building up the Timorese police will take well beyond 2001, so an international police presence will continue to be needed. The same applies to a broad range of functions within the various departments, where it will take some time until all the international staff is replaced by Timorese civil servants. The judicial sector, to mention just one, will require international support for several years.

The Secretary-General states his belief that such support should be provided through an integrated mission under a Special Representative, mandated by the Council and funded from assessed contributions. Of course, financial assistance to East Timor will have to come, as it does now, from voluntary contributions. In that connection, the Council requested the General Assembly President last November to give consideration to increasing flexibility in the use of assessed resources allocated to complex peacekeeping operations, such as UNTAET. This should also apply to the follow-on operation.

Continuing, the report states that, subject to the Council's decision, the new operation would function in the independent East Timor in accordance with an agreement to be concluded with the new Government. The Secretary-General had asked UNTAET to draw up plans for such an operation, in close consultation with the Timorese and the partner organizations. In due course, the Secretary-General will submit his recommendations on this matter to the Council.


SERGIO VIEIRA DE MELLO, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Transitional Administrator for East Timor, said that it was known from the outset that the unique demands placed on the Mission meant that the task would not be easy, although perhaps no one had fully appreciated just how complex the task would be. The UNTAET mandate had been unprecedented in its breadth, involving not only peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance, but also full executive and legislative responsibility - including of justice - for governing East Timor and bringing it to independence.

He said that the Mission had been called upon to carry out that mandate in a country that had just experienced a trauma of a truly horrific nature. While grateful for the tributes paid UNTAET by the Secretary-General in his report, he was under no illusion -- much still remained to be done to meet the high expectations that had accompanied UNTAET’s arrival. Despite the enormous strides made in the past year, the overall task was "far from complete" even in such critical fields as infrastructure reconstruction, particularly in the health and education sectors.

In other areas, such as capacity-building, the mandate was only just beginning to be fulfilled and was many years from completion, he continued. It was that sense of reality –- that East Timor would require the ongoing commitment of the international community - which he would like to impress on the Council today. What could be achieved in the coming year should be put in the context of the fast-moving political transition towards independence. At the heart of the process had been the formation of a structure of government in East Timor through the creation of a predominantly East Timorese cabinet and the expansion of consultative mechanisms through the establishment of the all-Timorese proto-legislature, the National Council.

He said that, together with the steady "Timorisation" of government at all levels and the creation of a Timorese judiciary, the United Nations was taking what he believed to be the "most effective, most direct, and perhaps most audacious path" towards fulfilling one of its core tasks –- preparing East Timor for self-government. The initial model for UNTAET, namely, to "Timorise" the bureaucracy, but leave the political transition until elections had been held, had thus evolved into a more sophisticated model whereby the East Timorese now shared much, if not most, of the responsibility for the conduct of the transition.

Only by allowing institutions to evolve in the direction of progressively greater East Timorese participation, had the Mission taken the route most likely to produce enduring and stable government structures, he went on. The aim was to ensure that the transition to self-government occurred gradually throughout the mandate, rather than suddenly at the moment of independence. The UNTAET should, in fact, no longer be seen as an international "transitional administration", but rather as a support structure to the embryonic government of East Timor and other institutions of State. That conceptual and structural shift within the Mission was the cornerstone of efforts to implement Security Council resolution 1272 (1999).

Even with the true separation of powers, he said, there was no guarantee that the National Council and Cabinet would see eye to eye on all matters. Furthermore, the judicial sector –- non-existent when UNTAET arrived –- continued to face understandable, but significant "teething" problems. Yet, it was only through practical, and not just theoretical, preparation that the groundwork for self-government could truly be laid. Another complexity had been the systemic problem of needing to adapt traditional peacekeeping practices to modern, multi-faceted, governance missions. Nowhere was that more true than in financing.

He said that UNTAET was very much an "innovative" mission. It had illustrated the general point that rules and procedures must adapt to the changing environment in which the Mission was operating, if the wishes of the Council were to be fulfilled. Many of the key tasks laid out in resolution 1272 now fell on the new governmental structures of East Timor to perform, rather than on UNTAET, as originally conceived. The government could not be expected to perform those tasks adequately on its cruel budget of $59 million, without being able to tap into UNTAET’s manifoldly larger resources.

The final phase of transition had arrived, he continued. Key decisions were about to be made regarding the details of the political steps which would lead to independence, in conformity with the general process he had outlined to the Council in November. There appeared to be a consensus forming in favour of elections on 30 August, together with an electoral system combining both direct representation and nationwide proportional representation. Those elections would be for a Constituent Assembly that would have as its core mandate the preparation of a constitution. It would probably also assume legislative functions for the remainder of the transition.

Clearly, he said, international personnel would be needed "well beyond independence", to provide technical assistance, capacity-building and security. It was an inescapable fact that, in a whole range of key high-skilled fields, it took a long time to train personnel. Many skills required in a modern State took many years to acquire. There could be no short cuts or quick-fix solutions. For example, the Department of Infrastructure believed that, while it would be possible for the Timorese to fully run the Water and Port Services relatively quickly, the skills needed to run a modern telecommunications system would take longer to learn. Thus, continued international support would be required in the interim.

In his observations, the Secretary-General had laid out some initial thinking on "life after UNTAET" and the need for a seamless transition to its successor mission, he said. More work was being done to develop a fully fleshed-out proposal. That should be prepared in time for the next donors’ conference in Canberra in June. In preparing for that mission, coordination would be key within and between the United Nations and its agencies, the international financial institutions, the donors, the Council, and, of course, the East Timorse as major stakeholders.

He said that UNTAET would be judged not just on how many schools it rebuilt or roofs it replaced. Rather, judgment would rest on how successfully it was able to assist the East Timorse in fully realizing their independence as masters of their own future and their own democratic and independent State. Independence was a process, of which UNTAET was only a part. It was vital that after UNTAET the United Nations continue to remain engaged in nurturing that process in order for East Timor to become a factor of political, social and economic progress and stability in the region as a whole.

MARK MALLOCH BROWN, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Chairman, United Nations Development Group, said there were few more important current tests of the United Nations than helping East Timor to full nationhood. He noted that nine United Nations humanitarian and development agencies had been active in East Timor since 1999.

He asked how the international community could best support the process of helping move East Timor to a path of strong, sustainable development. The answer lay in building on the strong work of the United Nations humanitarian agencies in their contributions, from overseeing the repatriation and reintegration of some 175,000 refugees, to the distribution of food aid to 180,000 vulnerable people.

The work of building the critical bridge between emergency work and longer-term rehabilitation and development had already begun, he said. United Nations agencies and programmes had, in collaboration with development partners, including non-governmental organizations, had spent around $136 million to address short-term needs, while starting to build real capacity for the future.

He said achievements to date included: the reroofing of 1,000 classrooms; the re-establishment of a functioning health-care system; the repair of six power stations and 120 kilometres of road; and the provision of training and technical, administrative and management assistance.

He said the East Timorese people most needed help in building the institutional capacity to manage their own country and meet the needs of their people. That was still an enormous task for a nation of 850,000 that had started with just 60 qualified secondary school teachers, 20 doctors and little in the way of effective systems of governance. Capacity-building was one of the UNDP’s special strengths, and he noted that the Programme had been designated the lead agency in capacity-building in support of the Transitional Administration.

To that end, he said, the Programme, in consultation with its sister agencies and other partners, had already developed a broad plan of action in such key areas as direct support, leadership for transition, human resources, electoral assistance and the establishment of a fully functioning justice system. It was clearly a very ambitious agenda, but an achievable one. It provided a clear framework for the United Nations system to prove how the international community could respond to such challenges - in the spirit of the Brahimi Report on United Nations peace operations - in a more coherent manner, built around shared objectives.

He concluded by urging the Council to help seek out new ways of either adapting current funding arrangements or establishing new ones, which would ensure that the kind of issues he had outlined were not neglected, but put at the heart of preparations for independence.

KLAUS ROHLAND, the World Bank’s Country Director for East Timor, Papua New Guinea and Pacific Islands, East Asia and Pacific Region, said that, with all the successes, it was necessary to learn lessons from the transitional process. There had been social and political tensions, and the reconstruction and restitution of government services had not always met the expectations of the population. The Timorese themselves had not always felt the degree of ownership of the process that was needed for a sustainable transition. The Bank was reviewing its own support operation to see where improvements could be made, and would be working with UNTAET and the East Timorese in drawing lessons that could feed into both their current programmes and their planning of post-independence support.

He stressed the need to develop a clear and structured plan for the transition and the post-independence mandate. The UNTAET/World Bank Brussels’ donor meeting document had outlined some elements of a strategy, but much more work was needed to identify the critical steps. Such a plan must be in place as soon as possible to enable the mobilization of the right resources. It must be focused on a small number of key objectives and should be driven by the Timorese, supported by the international community.

The area of administration would be crucial to the transition, he said. It was essential for the success of the first independent Timorese government that they inherit an administration with efficient systems, capable human resources and clear lines of accountability, which was also free of corruption and undue political interference. The Timorese must participate fully in the interim administration between now and independence to ensure that the State being built was the State they really wanted for the future. It should be recognized, he added, that true independence was not only political, but also economic.

The coming months would be challenging, and the Bank stood ready to help in whatever way it could. In addition to its continuing support with other donors, the Bank could offer assistance on fiscally sustainable civil service wages and structures and on anti-corruption strategies, as well as strong cooperation improving budgetary processes with the Central Fiscal Authority. The Bank would like to see the Trust Fund for East Timor evolve into a mechanism to support a more integrated and sustainable budget for the new government, he added.

LUIS VALDIVIESO, Advisor, Asia and Pacific Department, International Monetary Fund (IMF), said that the agency's role in East Timor so far had focused on developing skills and institutions to help ensure that economic policies were implemented properly and that the resources made available were used appropriately. To help sustain East Timor's economic growth, as well as humanitarian initiatives in the region, the IMF would continue to stress the need for consistent macroeconomic polices, for enhancing capacity-building and for creating adequate incentives for the private sector.

He went on to give further highlights of the IMF's strategy, which involved a revival of the payment system, development of a basic fiscal framework and a comprehensive technical assistance programme. The critical steps in reviving the payment system were establishing a monetary authority – the Central Payments Office -- and the choice of legal tender. Following the revival of the payment system, the critical steps for developing a basic fiscal framework were establishment of a Central Financial Authority and adopting a sustainable, consolidated budget. The Authority was now developing a comprehensive budget process for 2001-2002.

While implementing various aspects of the macroeconomic strategy had revealed some deficiencies, he added, the Fund was certain that improvement would come with time. To provide the immediate assistance needed to implement the macroeconomic framework, the Fund also established a comprehensive technical assistance programme.

Turning next to resulting developments since the strategy's implementation, he said the United States dollar had been adopted as legal tender. While that was an important step, it would be crucial in the future for the people of East Timor to decide on a national currency. Two foreign banks had started operations and demand deposits had risen. While tax collections had been performed well, enforcement of user fees needed improvement. He was encouraged to see that the East Timorese people were taking stronger interest towards incorporating their own views and experiences within the Fund's implementation framework, particularly in the areas of taxation and tariffs for utilities. That and other developments would help transcend the usual political cycle, as East Timor moved towards independence.

He said that the past experience had provided the international community with very detailed blueprints for capacity-building initiatives. The IMF would try to ensure that successful models would be replicated for further achievements in monetary framework policies for East Timor. It was very important not to create a framework that would be difficult to sustain later. While progress in the area of financial management had been slow, the IMF would continue to coordinate closely with other agencies to ensure a comprehensive, systematic approach in the months ahead. To that end, the Fund was trying to establish staff training programmes, as well as coordinate the efforts of experts in the capacity-building field. Those experts would, in turn, train their local counterparts in East Timor.

While some in the international community avoided addressing the issue of the maintenance of macroeconomic stability in post-conflict situations, he said the issue must be discussed, so decisions were not made that were later regretted. The challenge then for East Timor would be to continuously review every decision and not only understand short-term benefits, but their future implications. Further, the IMF was requesting that donors be as specific as possible about their proposed initiatives, with particular emphasis on the future implications of such plans. Without macroeconomic stability, East Timor could not be expected to grow or to seriously address poverty problems.

He went on to say that the IMF, in close coordination with the World Bank and other agencies, would strive to continue setting up the economic legislation necessary to help create adequate incentives for the private sector. In particular, there was an urgent need for a commercial legal framework, a land and property rights law, a labour code and a legal framework for foreign investment. Without laws that would protect the rights of investors, the international community could not expect an appropriate response. The situation in East Timor provided a unique opportunity to find new and creative ways to encourage private sector participation. It was important to consider the input of the East Timorese people in that regard. The engine of growth and prosperity in the region could only be sparked by enhanced private sector participation.

HARRI HOLKERI (Finland), President of the General Assembly, began his statement by expressing condolences to the people of India and Pakistan. He reported to the Council on his recent week-long visit to the South-East Asian region, during which he had visited Singapore, East Timor and Indonesia. In East Timor, he had had a series of meetings in Dili and had been briefed extensively about the activities of UNTAET and had also met with local political leaders. He said the main purpose of his visit to East Timor had been to observe, in light of recent discussions on the Brahimi Report, how a comprehensive and complex peace operation worked at the field level.

He said that, despite the commendable progress achieved, East Timor would need the assistance and presence of the international community for a long time to come, both to continue to maintain peace and to support reconstruction and nation- building, he said. The international community could not afford to leave East Timor prematurely, or without a well prepared strategy. The "Timorisation" of local administration was crucial and should be pursued vigorously, but it could not wholly substitute for an international presence.

He said United Nations peacekeeping was still needed to ensure the safety and security of the population and overall stability of the country. It would be unrealistic and even irresponsible to expect or plan a quick pullout. He also emphasized that the operation must be given resources commensurate with its mandate, and that those resources must be provided from assessed contributions. In that connection, he expressed his support for the Council’s request for increased flexibility in the use of assessed resources allocated to complex peacekeeping operations, such as UNTAET. He said he would once again draw the attention of the relevant Assembly bodies to that request.

He said that much more needed to be done to disarm and disband the militias in West Timor. That was essential to allow the United Nations to return to West Timor to deal with the refugee problem and to stop the violence against the civilian population. He added that the success of UNTAET, as in the case of any United Nations peace operation, depended on the full cooperation of all parties.

In conclusion, he stressed the urgency of the need to strengthen United Nations peace operations through implementing the recommendations of the Brahimi Report. He noted that in adopting its recommendations on the report, the Council had undertaken to ensure that the mandated tasks of peacekeeping operations were appropriate to the situation on the ground.

JOSÉ RAMOS-HORTA, Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs, East Timor Transitional Administration, said it had been just over one year since East Timor was liberated and UNTAET was established. On 1 December 1999, he had arrived back in his country for the first time after 24 years in exile. The scenes of the destroyed cities and towns reminded him of the black and white pictures of Hiroshima, London and Dresden after the Second World War. Not much had been left intact in East Timor. What had not been looted or taken away had been vandalized and destroyed.

He said that government services and infrastructures had been wiped out, while civil servants, schoolteachers, medics, semi-skilled and unskilled workers had taken refuge in the mountains, or been made hostage, maimed, or killed. Not a single public service was functioning, and not one modest eatery or kiosk was operational. In September 1999, East Timor "was knocked back to year zero". Its brave people, however, had been understanding and patient. While many international staff had lived up to expectations, the recruitment of civilian personnel could have been more careful and the assignments better planned. The situation had been remedied and the recruitment process had been moved to Dili.

Much progress had been made on many fronts, he said, including in the areas of education and health care. Hopefully, oil and gas revenues would soon flow into East Timor. The UNTAET had accelerated the participation of Timorese in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the transitional government; compatriots were gradually shouldering the responsibilities that came with self-determination. Nearly 7,000 East Timorese were working as civil servants throughout the country in a wide range of areas, including police, education, health, and border and customs services. Delegating responsibility was insufficient, however; it was essential to provide people with the necessary tools to accomplish their task.

Overall, he said, power-sharing between UNTAET and East Timorese had worked fairly well, although there had been some growing pains. The structural and administrative ambiguity between the East Timor Transitional Authority and UNTAET must be resolved. It would not be in anyone’s interest to suddenly disengage and not take advantage of the gains made by UNTAET. That type of peacekeeping operation was new for the United Nations and new for the Timorese. The Transitional Administration must be given the means and real authority to ensure that the institutional structures could continue to function properly and effectively after independence.

Conscious that the international community could not shoulder indefinitely the responsibility for East Timor’s external security, it had decided to create the East Timor Defense Force. He was grateful that the Council had authorized UNTAET to undertake that additional task. One battalion would be ready for deployment by the time of independence. In order to do that successfully, however, assistance was needed. A defence force was only one way to guarantee national security. East Timor must continue to reach out to its neighbours and forge regional partnerships. Regarding Indonesia, East Timor was committed to continuing the process of healing and normalization.

He said it was expected that conflicting interests and deeply entrenched classes would collide in a country as ethnically, culturally and geographically diverse as Indonesia, particularly as it emerged from decades of a military-dominated regime. He expressed his country’s sincere sympathy and solidarity to that proud nation. Friends of Indonesia must redouble their efforts in assisting it, and its leader in continuing the progress made so far in advancing reforms and democracy.

The plight of the East Timorse, many of whom were being held in squalid camps in West Timor against their will, remained an obstacle to improved relations between Indonesia and East Timor, he said. The security situation in West Timor had improved, even as concern remained at the pervasive presence of armed gangs in the refugee camps. Indonesian authorities must continue their efforts to completely disband those gangs. The United Nations was urged to dispatch, as soon as possible to Indonesia, a team of security experts to assess the security conditions in West Timor, with a view to recommending the return of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other agencies.

He said that East Timor had to be built from ashes, and more remained to be done. He, thus, asked the United Nations to sustain its partnership with the East Timorese, so that their nation could pursue the development of full economic, political and civic capacity. To do that required a secure and stable environment, which could only be provided through maintaining a peacekeeping presence after the transition period. That would enable its forces to ready themselves to assume responsibility for the nation’s security.

STEWART ELDON (United Kingdom) said that recent months had seen a real effort to accelerate the transfer of authority to the East Timorese. The process of "Timorisation" had not been envisaged when the Council adopted resolution 1272 (1999). It had been an act of great vision and imagination by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and it seemed to be working well. Congratulations, however, should not lead to complacency.

East Timorese expectations were not being met in a number of area, he went on, including infrastructure improvement. The international community must improve the delivery of available resources. It was vital that, in the next six months, there was a continued delegation of authority to East Timorese. There must also be a real effort to transfer skills to them through development and training, so that they would be fully prepared for the administration of an independent State. Training would be one part of a wider effort to build capacity in East Timor.

Political skills were also crucial, he said. East Timor would soon become the first newly independent country of the new millennium. It was important that it become a shining example for the rest of the world. The territory was endowed with political leaders, but the political and constitutional structures must be right. The process leading up to the elections must be inclusive and transparent, and discussions on the new constitution should involve a full range of representatives from all sectors of society. If the country was to move forward, it must also deal with its past, including bringing to justice those responsible for crimes against humanity.

Another problem faced by East Timor was the tangible security threat that continued to exist on its border. There should, therefore, be no downsizing of the UNTAET military component at present, and a significant United Nations military presence would likely be needed for some time to come. Real progress should be made to reduce the security threat. That the militias were still active in the camps in West Timor was "appalling". No less worrisome was the fact that large numbers of refugees continued to live in such difficult conditions in the camps, subjected to serious intimidation. That problem must now be properly addressed, as it had direct implications for the security of East Timor and the future structure of the United Nations presence there.

ANWARUL KARIM CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said the establishment of peace in East Timor was crucial not only for long-term reconstruction and development, but also for the return and resettlement of refugees. While the security situation had improved, militia movements were still a source of concern. He hoped that the Indonesian Government's recent assurance of cooperation and determination -- recently given to the General Assembly President, Harry Holkeri -- would facilitate and speed up all efforts towards the safe return of refugees to East Timor.

He urged bilateral donors, international financial institutions, and United Nations funds and programmes to fulfil their pledges to the Trust Fund. That was critical for the capacity-building of the East Timorese, particularly in areas of governance, the judiciary and social services. In that regard, he hoped next month's donor meeting, to be held in Canberra, Australia, would be fruitful. He also emphasized the need to bring indigenous solutions to East Timorese concerns. In that respect, he was expecting a mission from the Grameen Bank to shortly visit East Timor to assist its people with the initiation of micro-credit programmes.

He also stressed the continued support of the international community in East Timor's post-independence era. It was absolutely necessary for effective "Timorisation" to take root. East Timor was a tall order for the Organization. All did not end with the holding of elections, which were expected by the end of the year. There needed to be a progressive delegation of authority to the East Timorese government.

The meeting recessed at 12:56 p.m.

When the meeting resumed at 3:19 p.m., SAID BEN MUSTAPHA (Tunisia) said today’s meeting was being held to consider the future of East Timor. A very important stage in the process had been reached and unconditional support from all parties remained critical. The stability of the region as a whole was at stake. The UNTAET had succeeded, in difficult conditions, in its work, thus far, and concrete results had been achieved in various areas. He was pleased by the achievements, but noted that more remained to be done. He stressed the need for cooperation at this stage with the Indonesian Government.

The UNTAET was a pilot case for the United Nations, he said. An additional effort should be made to ensure a smooth transition to lasting peace. He noted that East Timor would continue to need substantial international aid following independence. The international community was duty bound to succeed in the process of independence. He supported the extension of the Mission’s mandate, so that it could finish its work.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE (France) said UNTAET would stand out in the annals of the United Nations as an exemplary success. The report gave testimony to the impressive progress achieved. However, that was not the end of the story. Another success remained to be established -- the post-independence era. The Timorese must be sent an unambiguous token of the international community’s trust in the future of their country. A clear vision must be provided.

He said it was necessary to accelerate the progressive emergence of Timorese political power and administrative ability. More progress must be achieved in that area. More attractive training and salary packages were among the elements that should be put in place. In confronting those challenges, it would have to appeal to bilateral and multilateral donors, among others. He called for the pledges made at the donor conference in Brussels to be honoured.

Independence would bring about a profound change in the part played by the international community, he said. Its action would have to be complementary to that of the East Timorese. The Council must see to it that the transition was as gradual as possible. France supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend UNTAET’s mandate. France would study with care the recommendations of the Secretary-General regarding the period following independence. He then asked the Special Representative several questions about the proposed elections in East Timor.

DAVID ALLEN PRENDERGAST (Jamaica) said the involvement of the East Timorese in administration had been of critical importance to his delegation. He noted that in the past six months there had been a concerted effort to accelerate the transfer of authority to the Timorese and welcomed those efforts. He supported the further progressive delegation of authority, until it was finally transferred to the government of the independent State.

He agreed that there needed to be a timetable for the movement towards independence. A phased approach was the most practical route to approach the situation. In order to move ahead with the timetable, he added, the security situation must be dealt with, as must the other logistical challenges, such as the organization of the elections and the decision-making process.

He said the situation of refugees remained a concern. The return of refugees to their homes in safety would contribute to reconciliation and rebuilding efforts and would ensure that they were reintegrated into East Timorese society. His delegation was aware of the challenges in creating a viable entity in the international community, particularly as the move towards independence loomed larger. The relevant actors should continue their efforts to ensure that the transition process was as smooth as possible.

ALFONSO VALDIVIESO (Colombia) said his delegation was particularly concerned by the problem of refugees and continued militia-related violence. He stressed that reconciliation could not take place in an atmosphere of impunity. He hoped relations between UNTAET and the Government of Indonesia would continue to improve.

He fully shared the recommendations of the Secretary-General that important economic support from the international community would be necessary for some time. The outcome of the transition process must not be a State that stood in jeopardy from its inception. He underlined the need to establish a police force and an effective judiciary system.

SHEN GUOFANG (China) said that recent developments in East Timor had been encouraging. Security Council 1272 (1999) was being implemented smoothly, and UNTAET had made marked progress in all areas, especially those involving the transitional administration. The country was preparing to run itself, as a result of concerted efforts by the United Nations agencies and the East Timorese themselves. Special thanks were owed Mr. Vieira de Mello for his tremendous efforts. His wisdom and ability had ensured the smooth implementation of the Council’s resolution.

He said that ensuring a smooth transition leading to independence was critical. It was heartening to note that, owing to UNTAET, an administrative framework had taken initial shape and various departments were being rapidly "Timorized". Still, some difficulties remained, particularly in the reconstruction, judicial and administrative spheres. Those required the continued support of the international community. He fully understood the desire of the East Timorese to be masters of their own nation.

The United Nations and the international community should ensure smooth and steady progress, he said. The United Nations should conduct full consultations with East Timor on the progressive, smooth transfer of power. A solid foundation should be laid on which the people could run their country in the future. The United Nations should provide support in that regard. Efforts should intensify to develop the economy, as the country was still confounded by economic difficulties; the per capita income was less than $1 per day and unemployment was extremely high. The UNTAET should work with the World Bank, the IMF and relevant United Nations agencies in that regard.

The most urgent task at hand was the realization of national reconciliation and a strengthened national unity, he went on. The problem of stranded refugees in West Timor was the main threat to independence and stability and improved relations between East Timor and Indonesia. The improvement of bilateral relations would stabilize the local and regional areas. The settlement of the refugee problem required understanding and cooperation by Indonesia, whose Government’s practical measures had demonstrated its determination to settle the problem. Without international assistance, Indonesia could, in no way, settle the refugee problem. The international community, therefore, should shoulder responsibility together with Indonesia and assist in a comprehensive, realistic, fair and lasting solution to the refugee problem.

He said that the United must maintain a presence in East Timor following its independence. The UNTAET had scored important achievements. He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation for extending its mandate. Thereafter, the United Nations should continue to provide the necessary support and assistance to East Timor. As a close neighbour, China was ready to continue to provide assistance through bilateral and multilateral channels, towards its independence and reconstruction.

ANDREI GRANOVSKY (Russian Federation) said there was every reason to describe the results of UNTAET’s work in various areas as "extremely impressive". Its scope had included some of the most varied issues, ranging from the state of the infrastructure to the development of political processes. Undoubtedly, priority should go to UNTAET’s efforts at the so-called "Timorization" of authority and the encouragement of national reconciliation.

He said that both elements were of key importance for the future of the Territory, as they prepared the country for self-government. The Secretary-General’s report had rightly pointed out that UNTAET had been using innovative approaches in solving the problems faced by the country. He paid tribute to its staff and director, Mr. Vieira de Mello, for their efforts in the search for creative solutions and Mr. Vieira de Mello’s ability to apply them.

The refugee problem in the camps in West Timor had remained acute, he said. He hoped the Indonesian authorities would do all that was necessary to end, as soon as possible, the activity of the units of the integrationist militia. The Indonesian Government’s level of cooperation with UNTAET was commendable. Clearly, East Timor was steadily moving forward in the direction of independence. That was in line with the aspirations of its people. For that reason, he supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend the Mission’s mandate.

DAVID COONEY (Ireland) said it was clear that the "Timorization" experiment remained central to achieving the aims of peace-building in East Timor. When UNTAET had been established in 1999, there was no history of open and democratic political activity in that Territory. In a relatively short period of time, significant progress had been made towards independence. A political structure was emerging with the development of consultative mechanisms, such as the East Timor Transitional Administration and the all-Timorese National Council.

The UNTAET programme of promoting civic and political education, constitutional development, and preparing the people of East Timor for democratic elections had laid a good foundation, he said. He hoped that intensification of such work would ensure truly democratic elections, which would, in turn, provide a solid foundation for the future. He welcomed the development of a judicial system, as well as the positive steps by Indonesia to arraign before their courts militia members accused of crimes against refugees and international humanitarian personnel.

Despite many positive developments, there were still concerns about security and the situation of refugees in the region, he continued. To that end, he condemned the continued activities of irredentist militia groups in West Timor and called on them to end their attacks, in line with relevant Security Council resolutions. It was hoped that the combined efforts of UNTAET, the Indonesian Government and the armed forces would lead to gradual improvement in the security situation. That would allow refugees to return home safely and enable humanitarian initiatives, so essential to stability in the region, to resume as soon as possible.

Objective assessments of the security situation should be made by UNTAET on a regular basis. Any revision of the military and security components of the Mission should be made only in light of real progress toward a sustainable transition. He also believed that an international presence that included military, humanitarian and technical assistance components should be maintained after independence. Such a presence should be mandated by the United Nations and comprise the widest possible representation.

MAMOUNOU TOURE (Mali) said UNTAET was the first governance operation in the history of the United Nations. He affirmed his support to UNTAET for the remarkable efforts made. Politically, one of the most important elements in the past months had been the Timorese desire to see their independence before the end of 2001. While supporting UNTAET and the National Council, he invited them to comply with the proposed political timetable.

The infiltration of groups of militia from West Timor was still a source of major concern, he said. The dismantling of those militia by the Indonesian Government would help the situation. He was of the view that everything necessary should be done to allow humanitarian bodies to return to West Timor to aid the refugees there. Security conditions in the refugee camps must be improved through bilateral cooperation. He also stressed the need to set up an effective judicial system. Without justice, there would be no reconciliation. He supported the extension of UNTAET’s mandate.

NANCY SODERBERG (United States) said Mr. Vieira de Mello and Mr. Ramos-Horta could take back the message that the international community’s commitment to East Timor would not end with the end of UNTAET. Any plan developed would have to be developed in consultation with the people of East Timor. The Secretary-General’s proposal for a post-independence international presence would have to be examined in depth. The United States had troops in East Timor and continued to strongly support the Mission and the people of East Timor. The calendar for independence was very ambitious, and her delegation would remain quite focused on it.

Progress in incorporating East Timorese into the transitional government was an important benchmark in the process towards independence, she said. The holding of free and fair elections, open to a wide range of parties and candidates, was another. Participation in the elections must be as broad as possible. The continued threat of militia incursions and the possibility of internal destabilization must be kept in mind. The importance of establishing the East Timorese Defence Force would be a key step in the process. She underlined the need for an independent judiciary. The establishment of the rule of law would be essential, she said.

HANS BRATTSKAR (Norway) said that UNTAET was a unique operation, with a very broad mandate. The United Nations was responsible for both the transitional administration of East Timor and peacekeeping operations. There seemed to be growing support among the East Timorese for independence by the end of the year. It was, therefore, of great importance that the United Nations support the work done by UNTAET, so that it could fulfil its mandate as soon as possible.

He said that one of the most important challenges at present, and during the process leading to independence, was the participation of the East Timorese in the building of their future nation. In that respect, his country welcomed the establishment of the East Timorese Transitional Administration and the transformation of the National Consultative Council into a National Council, a broader and more representative body. A United Nations presence after independence was needed, based on full respect for the sovereignty of East Timor and developed in full cooperation with the new government.

Once independent, East Timor would need substantial international assistance, both financial and with a continued United Nations presence, he said. The Secretary-General’s vision of an integrated mission under a Special Representative was welcome. Of particular importance was that both the United Nations military component and the civilian police force could undertake their responsibilities efficiently and in line with international standards. In light of each States’ legitimate defence and security needs, he endorsed the decision to establish the East Timorese Defence Force.

Also important was the establishment of a civilian police force, he said. Its role should be separate from the mandate and role of the defence force. International civilian police should be present after independence, until the national police force was fully recruited and trained. A long-term development perspective was also important. In that regard, it must be ensured that the UNDP and the World Bank, among others, were given sufficient resources and opportunities to participate in the reconstruction process in a coordinated manner.

He said his country had a long-term perspective regarding its engagement in East Timor, both in terms of political and financial support. His country had already provided substantial support and would continue to do so, taking into account the fact that East Timor should not be overly dependent on development assistance. The security situation on the border was a serious concern, especially with respect to the refugee camps in West Timor. He urged the Indonesian Government to take the necessary steps to fulfil Security Council resolution 1319 (2000).

VOLODYMYR KROKHMAL (Ukraine) said he appreciated Mr. Vieira de Mello’s comprehensive briefing, in which he stressed the need for sustained international presence in East Timor. A smooth transition to legitimate power and satisfactory administration, in the context of the attainment of independence, must be the focus. He also supported measures to strengthen the country’s potential in certain spheres. An important contribution in that regard had been the establishment of the transitional Cabinet of the National Council. It was also necessary to recognize that much time and effort was needed in order to set up a full-fledged administrative structure.

He said that the implementation of measures contained in the political calendar would be a key political event along the path towards independence. A very important step to be taken towards independence was the disarmament of the local militia and the establishment of an effective judiciary branch, without which independence might be threatened. Many delegations had already underscored the importance of the development of good-neighbourly relations and cooperation with Indonesia, including support for the stability of their common borders and refugee camps.

Among the priority tasks that required further international effort was the establishment of a solid economic foundation, he said. In that regard, it had been gratifying to see an activation of the economic life of the Territory. He shared the view of the World Bank and the IMF that the basis for independence must be a viable private sector. Special attention should also be given to the development of the agriculture sector, which represented the largest share of the country’s gross national product (GNP).

He said he supported the recommendation to extend the international presence at the current stage following the end of UNTAET’s mandate. The financing strategy and corresponding projects and programmes should be future-oriented and adapted to the conditions prevailing under independence.

ANUND PRIYAY NEEWOOR (Mauritius) said he saw the plan created by UNTAET to shepherd East Timor to independence in the next few months as a blueprint for transition to a successful new and democratic nation. His delegation was pleased that UNTAET's plans were proceeding according to an established time frame. He was pleased that the people of East Timor had been fully involved in the decision-making process and were being trained to take charge of the administrative machinery and other institutions vital for the success of a newly independent nation.

He went on to say that he hoped the people of East Timor understood that with independence they would have to collectively and individually shoulder the responsibility for their new nation. To that end, political leaders would have a great responsibility to engender in the people a culture of respect for the democratic process and the institutions of the nation. He was pleased to note that a multi-party political structure had been envisaged for East Timor. He welcomed that initiative, as it would provide the basis for accountable governance and responsible opposition.

He said that East Timor was poised to engage in the electoral process necessary to strengthen its independence. He hoped that all East Timorese, as well as those refugees currently in West Timor, would participate in the democratic elections. To that end, the Government of Indonesia was invited to extend all cooperation possible to facilitate the early return of refugees in an atmosphere of peace and security. That Government was further invited to enter into early discussions with UNTAET to finalize a definitive date for the independence of East Timor. He supported the extension of UNTAET's mandate for a further 12 months, until 31 December.

Council President KISHORE MAHBUBANI (Singapore), speaking in his national capacity, said "Timorization" must not only take place at the political level, but percolate throughout the entire administration in East Timor. As a far-sighted parent, UNTAET must build up the capacity of East Timor to stand on its own two feet and not develop a crutch mentality. And while East Timor would look to the United Nations for support and advice for some time, the Organization must also listen increasingly to what its child wants. It was clear that it still had a long way to go. More needed to be done in the area of security, as the refugee and militia problems had still not yet been resolved. The killing of United Nations personnel and the intimidation of refugees by militias could not be condoned, he stressed.

He said that a stable and lasting foundation for a country could not be built overnight. The Council must, therefore, send a strong message of political support and engagement. The Organization's credibility would be damaged if it were seen to have raised expectations, only to leave before the job was done, and done well. The issue was not just about the fate of East Timor, but that of the entire South-East Asia region. East Timor's future was intimately tied to that of Indonesia, whose fate, in turn, was indistinguishable from that of the region. East Timor achieved independence at a time when Indonesia was undergoing a profound political and economic transition. That independence was the result of the wrenching transformations that Indonesia was itself experiencing.

He went on to say that while East Timor's independence was now an irrevocable fact, it was also a fact that Indonesia's transition was still ongoing. A volatile East Timor could set back Indonesia's efforts to return to normalcy. Political uncertainty and instability in Indonesia would, in turn, have far-reaching implications for the rest of the region. Both East Timor and Indonesia had, however, spoken of reconciliation. Cooperation between them would usher in a period of peace and also contribute to stability in the South-East Asia region. It was vital that the United Nations took a long-term perspective on that issue and recognize the regional context, as well.

He said attaining independence was the easy part. It was more difficult to be successful at it. East Timor's interests would be best served by the full engagement of the international community in its rehabilitation and development, even after independence. "We cannot expect an independent East Timor to manage all of its problems on its own", he said.

Turning to United Nations peacekeeping, he said it had seen its fair share of successes and failures. East Timor and UNTAET presented a unique opportunity for the Organization to draw on the lessons learned from past experiences and make it one of the most successful peacekeeping operations in the history of the United Nations. With sufficient will and commitment, the Organization and the Council could guide its child into becoming a peaceful, stable and productive member of the international community and the United Nations.

PENNY WENSLEY (Australia) said she welcomed recent United Nations efforts to accelerate the transfer of authority to the East Timorese. As a fundamental element of capacity-building, "Timorization" would remain critical to East Timor’s successful transition to independence. Continued capacity- and institution-building would be essential to achieve a transfer of authority from the United Nations to an effective East Timorese government and administration.

It was crucial that international support for East Timor’s transition to independence be maintained, she said. Gains had been made. There was significant distance yet to be travelled, however, to consolidate the work of UNTAET and build an independent East Timor that could take its place in the region, and in the United Nations, confident, secure and well prepared to manage the challenges of statehood. Australia, therefore, strongly supported the renewal of UNTAET’s mandate.

She said the United Nations’ role in East Timor would not end on the day of independence, although the nature of the Organization’s relationship with the East Timorese would change as soon as they achieved governance of their own independent nation. It was fundamental that arrangements across a range of areas, of which the financial aspect was particularly important, support the transition to an effective East Timorese government and administration, and that they did not cease on the formal date of independence. The international community should begin to think now about an appropriate United Nations presence in East Timor after independence.

DON MACKAY (New Zealand) said that, as a major troop contributor to the operation in East Timor, his country fully supported the proposed extension of UNTAET’s mandate until 31 December. A great deal had been achieved, particularly in the security and humanitarian fields. That was a credit to the efforts of the people of East Timor, Mr. Vieira de Mello and his team, as well as the hard-working Secretariat in New York and the contributions of Member States.

He said it was critical that UNTAET now build upon its achievements. Further progress was essential in the accelerated transfer of authority to the Timorese. That was perhaps the most difficult challenge. Despite the small amount of training among the Timorese, UNTAET must make every effort "to put them in the driver’s seat". The day must come, sooner rather than later, when the East Timorese were the ones making decisions, with United Nations staff acting as mentors.

Despite gains in guaranteeing East Timor’s security, the threat posed by the militia groups in West Timor would remain as long as they were not disbanded, he said. Moreover, maintenance of security would be crucial for the conduct of pre-independence political events, including elections. UNTAET operations, including the military component, should continue at present levels through the period of the extended mandate. It would be some time before the East Timor Defence Force could take over some of those responsibilities.

He said that further reductions in troop contributors should be based on a careful, objective military assessment of the situation by those in the field. Budgetary concerns should not drive that decision. It was equally important that the international community remain engaged in the post-independence period, if UNTAET’s achievements were to be secured. He fully endorsed the design of plans for an integrated operation, undertaken in close cooperation with the Timorese and partner organizations. Such an operation would need to include a "blue-helmeted" security component.

HIDEAKI KOBAYASHI (Japan) said he wished to focus on the political process leading to the independence of East Timor and to share thoughts on the post-independence phase. He welcomed the growing consensus among the East Timorese people on the political calendar for achieving independence. He stressed the importance of pursuing independence through a political process that was open, fair and democratic. He urged the United Nations to do its best to realize the sequence of political steps to be agreed upon by the East Timorese people.

His delegation shared the Secretary-General’s analysis that East Timor would continue to require substantial international support after independence was achieved. Japan would remain committed to helping East Timor in the post-independence phase. He stressed that after independence the transfer of authority should be complete. He also noted the need for the international community to remain steadfast in its efforts to assist East Timor.

Continuity was essential to ensure that the efforts made thus far for the reconstruction and development of East Timor were fruitful, he added. The necessary systems and mechanisms must be in place to ensure continuity in the provision of international assistance.

PER NORSTRÖM (Sweden) spoke on behalf of the European Union and the associated States of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta and Iceland. He stressed the importance of learning from the UNTAET experiences. Some of those lessons learned had already been reflected in the Brahimi Report, which outlined a number of recommendations that would better prepare the United Nations system for complex peace operations. The Union strongly supported the gradual transfer of responsibility for law and order to the East Timorese and encouraged UNTAET to accelerate the training of the police force. He added that an international police presence would still be needed after independence.

He said the Union stressed the need to further strengthen national capacity-building in all governance areas. The "Timorization" efforts within the Transitional Administration must be pushed forward, and the role of UNTAET should gradually change from execution, to an advisory role. He also stressed the importance of strengthening the judicial system, which would be the guarantor of democracy. The Union called on the Indonesian Government to continue all necessary efforts to bring the perpetrators of serious crimes, committed during the violence in September 1999 and before, to justice. It also called on that Government to follow the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding signed with UNTAET.

He urged UNTAET to continue its efforts to ensure that free and fair elections -- scheduled for August -- and the establishment of the Constituent Assembly, took place within a time frame to be agreed upon by both the Mission and the East Timorese. The Union also stressed that the Assembly should reflect broad political participation and allow for an open and truly democratic debate. The Secretariat had a role to play in conducting the elections and implementing a broad civic education campaign. Addressing the security situation, he condemned the continued activities of militia groups in West Timor, which had a destabilizing impact on the transition to independence in East Timor.

He said a prompt disbanding of the militia groups was essential to reach a solution to the refugee situation in West Timor. Those refugees must be given a free choice of whether they wished to return to East Timor or resettle in Indonesia. The establishment of security in refugee camps, the resumption of humanitarian assistance, a solution to the refugee situation and support for reconciliation were essential for the creation of lasting peace and stability in East Timor.

JUAN GABRIEL VALDES (Chile) said ensuring the success of UNTAET was the collective responsibility of the international community. He had carefully studied the Secretary-General’s report and fully agreed with its conclusions. He had taken note of the areas of concern, particularly the general situation of security and refugees and the problem of the militias. In that regard, he was reassured by the positive signs in the bilateral relations between East Timor and Indonesia.

He said he supported the extension of the Mission’s mandate at least until the end of the year. He shared the view of the Assembly President that East Timor would require the presence and assistance of the international community for a long time, be it in relation to peacekeeping and/or national reconstruction. Given the complexity of the current security situation and the delay in organizing the defence forces, the continuation of the Council’s role was fully justified. Any change or withdrawal of its functions at the current time would be a mistake.

MARIA LUIZA RIBEIRO VIOTTI (Brazil) said her country remained committed to building a democratic and stable East Timor. Earlier this week, Brazil’s President had visited East Timor and conveyed a message of solidarity to the East Timorese people, whose struggle for independence had captured the hearts and minds of all Brazilians. During his visit, the President had announced that current cooperation could be expanded to other areas, including public health, agriculture, assistance in the establishment of regulations on oil prospecting, the use of satellite-gathered data for natural resources assessment and environmental monitoring.

She said the possibility of reinforcing the Brazilian contingent in the peacekeeping force with a field hospital was under consideration. It was important now to start planning for a smooth transition to self-government that included creating an environment for self-sustained development. It was not just a matter of ensuring political stability and putting in place the right regulations. The international community must not turn its back on East Timor after its independence.

Creation of conditions for development would not be attained in the short term and would require generous international cooperation long after independence, she said. That was the rationale behind the projects in East Timor, which focused mainly on education and capacity-building. Such programmes had also had a positive impact on the preparation of the East Timorese to take over the future democratic State. The "Timorization" of the administration was under way, and efforts in capacity-building were starting to bear fruit with the training of police, judges and other civil servants.

Nevertheless, the obstacles that lay ahead could not be overlooked, she said. Less than 10 per cent of permanent management positions had been filled, for example. His country, thus, supported the recommendations of the Secretary-General to extend UNTAET’s mandate until 31 December. She looked forward to receipt of the Secretary-General’s recommendations concerning the successor mission of UNTAET. Clearly, regardless of the format of the new mission, the international presence must remain substantial. Despite impressive progress, the situation in the areas of security, law and order, and public administration did not allow for scaling down the global presence.

AMRAIYA NAIDU (Fiji) said the slogan "no exit without a strategy" was most apt for East Timor. All United Nations resources and commitments deployed to assist Indonesia in the devolution of power to East Timor thus far would be wasted if United Nations peacekeeping were withdrawn without a proper consultative process with all stakeholders.

He said he supported a sustained United Nations presence in East Timor with a phased exit strategy; one that incorporated monitoring and evaluation of the security situation, as well a needs assessment and appropriate responses by development partner agencies. Despite relative peace in East Timor, crucial humanitarian relief operations were severely hampered by persistent and violent militia elements. That situation underscored the continuing need for a United Nations presence in East Timor.

Mr. RAMOS-HORTA, Cabinet Member for Foreign Affairs of East Timor Transitional Administration, then thanked the members of the Council for their continuing engagement with the ongoing process in East Timor. In response to a question raised by a number of speakers, he pointed out that in the course of past year there had only been two incidents of political violence in East Timor. The balance of the situation was largely very peaceful. East Timor had one of the lowest criminality rates in the world, while registering a very high rate of unemployment, he noted.

KIM YOUNG-MOK (Republic of Korea) said the continued interest and assistance of the international community was essential for the future of East Timor and the success of UNTAET, which, along with the United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK), had become an important test case of United Nations engagement beyond traditional peacekeeping. In that regard, his delegation supported extension of UNTAET’s mandate. His Government had committed itself to continuously supporting the United Nations engagement in East Timor and was prepared to do so in the future.

Tremendous work and resources were needed for the nation-building process in East Timor, he said. Keeping the political process of integration active and effective was a most important task in achieving a stable and strong nation. No mistakes should be made in securing stability at this particular juncture, where the country faced a series of major political events. The international community must spare no efforts in helping the East Timorese in achieving complete "Timorization" in every field. He added that a continued United Nations presence, including a peacekeeping mission, would be necessary until East Timor achieved an integrated democratic system.

ENRIQUE A. MANALO (Philippines) said the world was at a critical stage with respect to the situation in East Timor. Last February, UNTAET had begun the arduous task of helping the East Timorese achieve self-rule. The prospect existed for an independent East Timor by the end of 2001. Indeed, that was a laudable goal, requiring the utmost cooperation of all concerned. He supported the Secretary-General’s recommendation to extend UNTAET’s mandate until 31 December to ensure that the aspiration of the East Timorese became a reality.

He said that the road ahead would not be easy. Broad and intensive public consultations must be conducted to ensure the unity of purpose and the constructive cooperation of all stakeholders in the future of East Timor. Furthermore, details of the plans for the Constituent Assembly and the election must be finalized soon. Certain crucial factors might affect the timetable, of which the most important was the security situation in the territory. Thus, a reduction of the current level of troops in East Timor should not be pursued until the security situation was stabilized, and the extended mandate should not include any reference to a troop reduction.

East Timor would still require substantial international assistance to support its development efforts, following independence, he said. A post-independent scenario should also include the continuation of United Nations engagement in the military, police and civil affairs of the new State. Such arrangements would be required until the political infrastructure of an independent East Timor was fully in place. His country was prepared to consider participation in the post-independent United Nations effort, depending on the mandate to be finalized by the Council.

CARLOS DOS SANTOS (Mozambique) said he was pleased to note that the security situation in East Timor was relatively stable. That would contribute decisively towards a smooth transition to independence, bringing the people of East Timor to the community of nations. He praised the firm action by UNTAET in dealing with the threat to security posed by the activities of militia infiltrated from West Timor. The authorities of Indonesia and UNTAET must continue their cooperation to ensure security and allow the activities of humanitarian agencies, including the UNHCR, to alleviate the suffering of refugees.

He welcomed the consensus of the people of East Timor to hold elections and attain independence during the current year. The international community must now demonstrate its solidarity with the Timorese cause, by making available the necessary resources for the timely completion of the UNTAET mandate and laying the foundation for a future independent State of East Timor. He called on the international community to continue supporting East Timor after its independence, as it built its own sustainable system of governance.

MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) reiterated his Government’s firm support to building a mutually beneficial and harmonious relationship with a future independent, democratic and stable East Timor. He was, therefore, fully committed to resolving all outstanding issues, including the question of East Timorese refugees. To that end, Indonesia had consistently cooperated, and would continue to exert effort to work in close cooperation, with UNTAET and its Administrator, as well as with the leaders of East Timor. The resolution of the refugee issue would facilitate the attainment of his Government’s objective.

Its attainment, however, depended not only on the situation in East Nusa Tenggara, but also that in East Timor. While acknowledging the results achieved by UNTAET thus far, the fact that some independent observers had been critical of UNTAET, including Xanana Gusmao in his New Year’s message, could not be ignored. Such views should be taken into account and constructively considered. Reconciliation had attained greater importance and must be pursued in all earnest if the potential for civil strife befalling East Timor and its people was to be avoided. Indonesia had facilitated, and would continue to facilitate, talks on reconciliation among the East Timorese.

He underlined the urgent need to resolve the situation of refugees. To that end, it was essential that an environment of calm and tranquillity, including job security and employment prospects, be advanced in East Timor. He noted that since September 2000, the Indonesian Task Force on Refugees in East Nusa Tenggara had facilitated 4,000 spontaneous returnees, conducted in close cooperation with UNTAET and aid agencies at the border.

Indonesia was continuing its efforts to disarm the militias, both through persuasion and repressive measures. Hundreds of standard and home-made weapons had been confiscated. The Indonesian security apparatus was now in control of the situation in and around the camps along the border with East Timor. As a manifestation of his Government’s commitment to bringing the perpetrators of criminal acts to justice, he noted that the judicial process had begun, with several trials of accused parties. The six suspects in the killings of three UNHCR staff in Atambua had been brought to trial in the North Jakarta District Court.

Indonesia would endeavour to ensure that East Timor’s geographical location would be reflected in the workings of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), he said. It was his Government’s sincere hope that the extension of the mandate of UNTAET would focus on the future and meet challenges in a positive, balanced and comprehensive manner.

Mr. VIEIRA DE MELLO, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Transitional Administrator for East Timor, taking the floor for the second time in today’s debate, expressed his gratitude for the unanimous support for the Mission and for the Secretary General’s recommendations, including the extension of the Mission’s mandate until 31 December. That support would act as a powerful incentive and encourage his colleagues in East Timor, including East Timorese, and those from non-governmental organizations which continued to play a crucial role in the reconstruction effort. That was a message of hope to the East Timorese population at large.

He said that today’s debate had been truly exceptional. On the question of the post-independence presence, most speakers had assured him of their wish that the United Nations remain involved and continue to play a strong support role after independence was achieved. That was of great importance to the East Timorese people and their leadership. Some speakers, in particular China’s representative, had requested an in-depth study and detailed proposals on the proposed structure and functions of the mandate of that follow-on integrated United Nations mission, to which the Secretary-General would likely respond. He would also outline the role of other United Nations agencies, including the UNDP.

On the question of security, he said he was grateful for the support for the establishment of a new East Timorese defence force. To a question from the United States representative concerning the use of national contingents, he believed that a new formula could be found that would considerably improve the performance of the international civilian police component in East Timor. He had also been asked, among other questions, to provide his own assessment of the results of the Timorese police training. So far, he believed it was very positive and was one of the areas in which UNTAET had been particularly successful, given the high quality and commitment of the new police cadets.

So far, 32 per cent of police recruits were women, he said. By February, there would be 300 East Timorese police officers on the streets in various stages of training, and each month, some 100 more would graduate. On the question of "Timorization", the representative of the United Kingdom had asked how that could be improved in qualitative terms. His assessment was that "Timorization" had been excellent at the top echelons and fair at the lower levels of the executive structure, as well as in the judiciary, but poor in the senior levels of the new civil service.

He said that fixing that gap was obviously crucial for the long-term success of endeavours in East Timor. It should, therefore, be the focus of attention for the remainder of the transitional period. On the question of the judiciary, he had been asked about the international response to the appeal circulated in New York in late November. It had been limited. In fact, only the United Kingdom had made an offer of financial support. Many questions had been raised about the refugees, which had been partly answered by the Indonesian representative. Many initiatives had, indeed, been taken jointly with Indonesian authorities in recent months.

* * * * *