World community must stay involved in East Timor Annan tells Security Council

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Speaking at the outset of a Security Council debate on East Timor that included the participation of the fledgling nation’s President-elect, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged the international community to remain involved in the new country as it continued to solidify the institutions of statehood.The Secretary-General stressed that the new government faced enormous tasks, before and above all after 20 May – the date of the island territory’s declaration of independence, following two and a half years under UN administration. “The international community must ensure that the investment it has made does not go to waste,” Mr. Annan said at the start of the Council discussion, which involved representatives of over 20 countries. “It will still have a crucial role to play in helping the Timorese to consolidate their new institutions.”The Secretary-General said that his proposed UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), to succeed the current UN Transitional Administration (UNTAET) upon independence, would assist the new State in the three critical areas of public administration, law and order, and external security.Meanwhile, East Timor would continue to need financial and budgetary assistance, as well as private investment from both domestic and foreign sources, the Secretary-General noted, adding that good relations with its nearest neighbours would also be essential for stability. UN Assistant Secretary-General Hédi Annabi said in order to have a lasting impact, making the best use of limited resources, UNMISET must be implemented coherently and in close partnership with the UN, Member States and the Timorese.East Timor’s President-elect, Xanana Gusmão, said his country’s independence was the product of sustained determination of the Timorese, combined with active cooperation with the international community at all levels. East Timor’s future success would also depend on that continued determination and cooperation, he stressed.Following the meeting, the Council President, Ambassador Sergey Lavrov of the Russian Federation, said Council members shared the view that the UN system should continue to play an important role in assisting the people of East Timor, together with the bilateral and multilateral donors, regional mechanisms, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other international actors.”The Members of the Security Council look forward to establishing the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor,” he said in a statement to the press, adding, “they also welcome the forthcoming UN membership of the new State.”

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