(As delivered)


13 JUNE 2006

Thank you, Madam President,

The Japanese delegation appreciates your convening this important meeting today on Timor-Leste, a young country struggling on its way to building a promising nation now suddenly finding itself in turmoil. I thank Mr. Ian Martin for his briefing on the latest situation based on his active engagement on the ground with the leaders of Timor-Leste. I also thank the representatives of the four countries which have deployed stabilization forces to Timor-Leste at the urgent request of the Timor-Leste government, for their statements.

We had hoped to have the presence of Foreign and Defense Minister Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta at this meeting today. However, we all understand how difficult it would be for him to leave his country at this critical time. My government sent a strong message to him and the other leaders of the Government of Timor-Leste of Japan's continued strong support to them. I also would like to take the opportunity to commend the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Sukehiro Hasegawa, and his team on the ground for their tireless effort, in particular, for Mr. Hasegawa's visits to many parts of the country with a view to contributing to the progress of political reconciliation.

Madam President,

Many in the United Nations and outside it have believed and remarked that Timor-Leste is a proud success story in the history of United Nations peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations, a model of international peace and development cooperation, in which the United Nations and the rest of the international community worked together with the people of a territory to help them move from conflict to making a successful transition to peace- and nation-building.

Throughout the period of UNTAET, UNMISET and UNOTIL, the people in this land have demonstrated remarkable resilience and a sense of ownership, guided in the process by their distinguished leaders, and made steady strides towards the phase of sustainable development. Other important actors, such as bilateral and multilateral partners, joined forces to provide indispensable supplementary assistance. Based on achievements in the areas of public safety and order and reassuring progress made in the building of state institutions, our collective judgment in the Council, until recently, was in favor of bringing the engagement of the United Nations, UNOTIL, to a careful but gradual close.

However, the events and disturbances we have seen the past few weeks in Dili and the rest of the country have revealed the existence of fragility in the present situation. Moreover, it is regrettable that the current disorder was invited and worsened, in no small part, by political conflicts among the leadership of Timor-Leste.

In the aftermath of the turmoil, the most urgent necessity has been the restoration of law and order in the society. Japan commends the quick action of the four countries - Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal - in dispatching their troops and police forces in response to the request of the Timor-Leste government, to stabilize the security situation. This response by the four countries was not only welcome, but we also believe that they demonstrated a level of maturity in the commitment by the countries with interests in the region in addressing the question of peace and welfare in the region as a whole.

At the same time, it is clear that resolving the problems now faced by the Timorese must go beyond immediately restoring public order, and will have to entail measures that address the underlying causes of today's problem in Timor-Leste. It is important, in this regard, first and foremost, that internal political reconciliation be achieved through ownership by the Timorese themselves. We believe that the United Nations could play a useful role in facilitating this process, but the process should be led and owned by Timorese, and not the UN. It is our hope that all the political leaders of Timor-Leste will recognize their responsibility and strive to create a constructive and forward-looking relationship among them, putting unity and the best interest of the country above all.

With regard to the request from the East Timor Government concerning the establishment of an independent inquiry commission into the violent incidents in April and May, the possible involvement of UN and the manner and extent of UN involvement in such a process should be carefully considered, taking into account, among others, the points I've just mentioned.

I would also like to mention the humanitarian crisis in the country, in which more than ten thousand people have been internally displaced and forced to live in dire conditions. To alleviate the situation faced by these people, OCHA launched a Flash Appeal requesting $18.9 million yesterday. My government has decided to contribute $5 million in response to that appeal. We call for a similarly quick and positive response from other Member States.

In parallel with the political situation, we should also look again at the underlying economic and social problems facing the Timorese as contributing to fragility in the society and creating causes for unrest. Here is another lesson to be learnt. Not least of them is the acute problem of youth unemployment that has come under the spotlight. Efforts to alleviate these social problems, including expanding employment, may not be within the direct province of the Security Council. Nevertheless, discussion on this issue cannot be avoided, because it has an impact on the outcome of the UN peacekeeping and peacebuilding activities in Timor-Leste, as indeed is the case in other instances of peacebuilding elsewhere in the world where the UN is involved. Although the international community has continuously provided its support for the reconstruction and development of Timor-Leste though bilateral and multilateral channels, this issue in our view has not been addressed sufficiently.

Now, it is important to effectively and efficiently utilize these resources of international assistance and seek to comprehensively address the social problems of Timor-Leste, in full respect, once again, of the concept of ownership by Timor-Leste. The leadership of Timor-Leste should focus on the root of the problems, and ensure appropriate distribution of resources. The significant potential revenue from natural resources development in the Timor Sea should be managed prudently and in a transparent manner, for the most efficient use of its resources and the greatest benefit to the people.

We consider that Timor-Leste could be considered as a case for study in the Peacebuilding Commission at an early, appropriate time.

Madam President,

The shape of post-UNOTIL United Nations engagement should be considered in light of these aforementioned points. The international community now needs to take a lesson from this recent series of incidents, conduct a review of the past activities of the United Nations and consider ways to enhance the role of the United Nations in Timor-Leste with urgency but with a certain degree of caution. In order to allow such a review and planning for post-UNOTIL engagement, we support the proposal of the Secretary-General to once again roll over the mandate of UNOTIL for an appropriate period of time. Japan will consult with members of the Council, members of the Core Group on Timor-Leste and other major stakeholders, on a resolution for the rollover. We also expect that the Secretary-General will present recommendations to the Council for its consideration on the follow-on mission reasonably soon, based on an assessment from the field mission led by Mr. Hasegawa and his team and his special envoy, Mr. Ian Martin, and we look forward to the timely issuance of his report on that subject.

Finally, Madam President,

Japan has provided significant support to Timor-Leste for the past seven years, since the start of UN involvement in that country in all its phases. This included the dispatch of an engineering battalion of our Self-Defense Forces, as well as police advisers and civilian experts for capacity-building. We also support a number of assistance projects and programs at the government and community levels.

We will continue to work closely with the Government of Timor-Leste, and in close consultations with the Core Group, multilateral institutions, NGOs and other key actors in the region and beyond.

Thank you, Madam President.

Related Information (Japan- Timor-Leste Relations)
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations Official Web Site other site

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