14 June 2006

Secretary-General Appeals to Security Council to Stand United in Supporting Timor-Leste's Return to Normalcy

NEW YORK, 13 June (UN Headquarters) -- Following are UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's remarks at today's Security Council meeting on Timor-Leste:

I am deeply concerned over the evolution of the situation in Timor-Leste since the incidents of the 28th and 29th of April.

The violence and unrest that Timor-Leste has experienced in recent weeks is particularly painful, because, in many respects, Timor-Leste is a child of the international community.  Through four successive missions (UNAMET, UNTAET, UNMISET and UNOTIL), the United Nations has played a key role in laying the foundation for Timor-Leste's democratic institutions and processes.

Today, those institutions and processes stand exposed.  The sad events of recent weeks reflect shortcomings not only on the part of the Timorese leadership, but also on the part of the international community, in adequately sustaining Timor-Leste's nation-building process.

We have learned -- at a painful price for Timor-Leste -- that the building of institutions on the basis of fundamental principles of democracy and rule of law is not a simple process that can be completed within a few short years.

Clearly, tremendous work lies ahead, both for the Government of Timor-Leste and for the international community.

But, as I told the Timorese people in a video message on 1 June, the United Nations is determined not to abandon them at this critical time of need.  I, therefore, appeal to the Security Council to stand united in supporting Timor-Leste's return to normality, so that its citizens may resume their work to build a peaceful and prosperous nation.

In this context, last month I dispatched Ian Martin as my Special Envoy on a short mission to review the situation on the ground.  Since his return last Friday, I have benefited greatly from his assessment, which he will share with you today.  His report highlights not only the immediate security challenges facing Timor-Leste, but also the complex political situation, and other problems, faced by that country.

In conclusion, I would like to mention that, on 8 June, I received a letter from the Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, Jose Ramos-Horta, on behalf of the Government, inviting the United Nations to establish an independent special inquiry commission "to review the incidents on 28 and 29 April, 23, 24, and 25 May, and other related events or issues which contributed to the crisis".   In response to this request, I am asking the High Commissioner for Human Rights to take the lead in establishing such a commission, and will keep the Council informed of its progress.

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