East Timor: head of UN mission delivers first State of the Nation address

East Timor: head of UN mission delivers first State of the Nation address

The head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) today presented the first State of the Nation address to the East Timorese National Council, giving an in-depth overview of the progress to date and the challenges that lie ahead.

"The past 20 months have been intensive for all. We have shared a remarkable experience so far, and I suspect this will continue until - and possibly beyond - your independence," Sergio Vieira de Mello said before National Council Members, Cabinet, diplomatic corps and the public.

The one-hour speech covered 12 main areas: security and law and order, justice and human rights, humanitarian, reconstruction, finance, the role of UNTAET, public services, economic development, administrative transition, international relations, political process, and the post-UNTAET mission.

Mr. Vieira de Mello reaffirmed that preparations are on schedule for East Timor's full independence, with the results of the 30 August elections to be announced by 10 September, and the appointment of a second Cabinet by 15 September.

"I believe strongly that the East Timorese should be as united as possible as they face the extraordinary challenges of independence. Therefore, I will support the formation of a Government of National Unity, based on the spirit of a Pact of National Unity that I am currently encouraging political parties to conclude," he said.

"Following the elections and the formation of the second Transitional Cabinet, there will be a further and significant delegation of UNTAET's powers to the East Timorese political leadership, as elected," he said.

In other news, Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette will be visiting East Timor from 2 to 5 July. She will be meeting with the UN Administration and key cabinet members as well as non-governmental organizations, staff from the East Timor Administration and the heads of UN agencies in East Timor.