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East Timor Institutions & People Show Resilience

Timorese institutions and people show resilience, Secretary-General reports

4 August 2008 – Timor-Leste’s institutions and people have shown impressive resilience after the violent attacks in February that almost claimed the life of the country’s President, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in his latest report on the work of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the tiny nation.

But he warns that the national police will still need long-term training and support for many years and greater efforts are required to strengthen the rule of law, boost economic and social development, and promote a culture of democratic governance.

The report, made public today, is the first since an armed group headed by the fugitive Alfredo Reinado launched a series of attacks on 11 February that almost led to the assassination of President José Ramos-Horta.

Mr. Ban writes that the Timorese Government took a restrained approach to the aftermath of the attacks and tried to focus on achieving national stability.

“The leaders and people of Timor-Leste did not allow these events to jeopardize the country’s overall stability,” he states. “The security situation remained calm. Efforts to foster dialogue and reconciliation continued.”

The Secretary-General notes that his Special Representative Atul Khare has also used his ‘good offices’ role to promote “a more conciliatory atmosphere among the political leaders and aimed at instilling among political actors the appreciation of the value of a strong opposition and an effective Parliament.”

Progress is being made in reconstituting the national police, although he stresses that “a continuing robust UNMIT police presence” is needed across the country, which the UN helped shepherd to independence in 2002.

He writes that creating job opportunities, especially for youth, remains a major priority, as well alleviating persistent and widespread poverty.

Given the fragile security situation and the struggles faced by the country, no change in the mandate of UNMIT is currently necessary, Mr. Ban observes.


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