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13 December 2007

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation for your initiative in holding this debate. I also wish to thank Ambassador Kumalo for his briefing last week on the Security Council mission to Timor-Leste. Today's debate provides an important opportunity for Member States to express their continued support for peace, stability and development in Timor-Leste, as the Council will consider the mandate of UNMIT in February next year.

Mr. President,

As a member of the core group, Japan has consistently been a strong supporter of the nation-building of Timor-Leste since the country's independence. My delegation is therefore encouraged by the report by the Security Council mission that the process of democratization is making good progress. This year, Timor-Leste successfully conducted presidential and parliamentary elections, which constituted a significant cornerstone for the country in the process of establishing democracy and consolidating peace. We are impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment to democracy among the people which was witnessed by the international electoral observers, including those from Japan. The visit by the Security Council mission at this stage was timely and contributed significantly to enhancing the work of UNMIT, whose efforts have been welcomed and recognized by the people of Timor-Leste.

Mr. President,

There are areas in which more needs to be done. For instance, as the Security Council mission points out, there still seem to be political differences among the leadership following the elections. We have full confidence in the wisdom and determination of the people of Timor-Leste to achieve the political stability and cooperation required for the country's reconstruction. In this context, I would like to stress that the political differences among the parties now can and should be expressed through their representation in the Parliament. I also would like to commend the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Atul Khare, for his efforts, through the High-Level Coordination Mechanism provided for in resolution 1704, to facilitate efficient communication both within the Government and between the Government and UNMIT.

Japan also shares the view of the mission that there is still much work to be done in capacity-building, including security sector reform and justice sector reform. The successful implementation of the elections is a good indication that the situation is essentially stable and calm. At the same time, we must bear in mind that the situation is still volatile, as the level of residual trauma and fear among the people remains high. Rebuilding the professional national police force is indispensable for the maintenance of security. The police officers sent by Japan to UNMIT are doing their part to contribute by, among other tasks, assisting in the compilation of a basic textbook for new PNTL recruits and acting officers. We are pleased with the efforts by UNMIT to screen and mentor PNTL, and encouraged to see that PNTL is now seeking greater responsibility in the maintenance of the security of the country. However, evaluating the extent of PNTL's credibility with the people and the community will be key to deciding on the transfer of greater responsibility to PNTL. In our view, the possibility of transferring responsibility should be assessed by an expert mission, as the Security Council mission suggested.

Mr. President,

I would like to reiterate Japan's continued commitment to supporting all efforts for peacebuilding and development in Timor-Leste beyond the peacekeeping stage. Timor-Leste has great potential deriving from the large amount of funds generated by oil revenues. Effective and well-planned use of these funds will contribute to the prosperity of Timor-Leste, and in this context, training and capacity-building of Timorese personnel for the management of said funds are critically important.

Peacebuilding is a long, complex and multidimensional process. Since I assumed the Chairmanship of the Peacebuilding Commission, I have been actively engaged in promoting assistance for recovery and reconstruction efforts by countries emerging from conflict. I am therefore particularly pleased to observe the advancement in the consolidation of peace in Timor-Leste and will continue to follow closely the progress of the peacebuilding efforts in the country.

The situation in Timor-Leste is moving toward stabilization. We must not fail to consolidate peace this time. UNMIT should continue to play an important role to that end. My delegation also understands that the Government of Timor-Leste wishes the United Nations to consider creating an overlapping period in which peacekeeping operations and the activities of the Peacebuilding Commission would work in tandem, so that a smooth transition to the consolidation of peace is ensured. Japan sincerely hopes that the parties concerned will consult in good faith and achieve agreement on how best to benefit from the various forms of support for peacebuilding being implemented in parallel with UN peacekeeping efforts.

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

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