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UN envoy appeals for continued international support for Timor-Leste

UN envoy appeals for continued international support for Timor-Leste

UNMISET chief Kamalesh Sharma
The top United Nations envoy in Timor-Leste today appealed for continued international support for the infant nation, stressing that global backing is particularly important for the development and stability of public administration institutions.

Kamalesh Sharma, the head of the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), told the Security Council in an open briefing that the UN is concentrating its attention on helping Timor-Leste, as the country is now known, to become a viable and growing nation.

Challenges ahead include establishing the rule of law, creating jobs, fostering national development, installing a democratic culture, building institutions and absorbing aid, he said.

The envoy stressed the Mission's main role as "enabler and facilitator" of meeting larger political, social and economic goals, as well as implementing the precise Council mandate in external and internal security for Timor-Leste, and support to various branches of public administration.

"The goal of UNMISET at the end of its mission is to enable Timor-Leste to emerge as a State in full possession of all attributes of sovereignty, stable and increasingly prosperous, making steady advances in continuing partnership with external institutions, friendly governments and civil society," Mr. Sharma said.

He noted that the timetable to hand over complete responsibility for internal security to the Timor-Leste police service by January 2004 is on schedule, and that the country's defence forces are expected to complete their take over of external security from UN peacekeepers by mid-2004.

Meanwhile, Timor-Leste has been making steady progress in developing friendly relations with Indonesia, Mr. Sharma said, particularly on the issue of the return of refugees from West Timor.

The prospects of the new State should be looked at with “positive expectation and optimism,” Mr. Sharma told the Council meeting, which saw the participation of some two dozen countries in the ensuing discussion.

The contribution and constructive engagement of various international actors in Timor-Leste generate confidence that the third successive UN mission "can anticipate the successful termination of its mandate in mid-2004 with the confidence that the country will advance surely on its own towards an increasingly prosperous and stable future," he added.