Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

26 Sep, 2016

Timor-Leste knows ‘all too well’ price of war, Prime Minister says at UN

United Nations, UN News Centre, 24 September 2016 – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister of Timor-Leste today underlined the concept of mutual dependence, saying that without peace and stability, there is no development, and without development, there is no peace and stability.

“Timor-Leste, as a country that experienced conflict, knows all too well the high price of war and how we must do everything to avoid it, through preventive diplomacy and by strengthening the institutions of the State,” Rui Maria de Araújo told the Assembly’s annual debate. “Timor-Leste can serve as an example and a source of hope as a country that emerged from a conflict situation and became a peaceful country, with security and stability, where all benefit from the dividends of peace,” he said.

Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo of Timor-Leste addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-first session. UN Photo/Cia Pak

A number of UN operations or missions were in Timor-Leste from 1999 to 2012, including the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET), which exercised administrative authority over East Timor during the transition from special autonomy within Indonesia to independence in 2002.

“We are well aware of the importance of peace for development, and development for peace, which is a concept that we endeavoured to include in Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda that we approved one year ago,” the Prime Minister said in the debate. “There must be no doubt: without peace and stability, we cannot think of development and vice versa,” he added.

He went on to note that Timor-Leste joined a group of another eight countries that wish to serve as models for the implementation of the Agenda by sharing good practices and experiences. Within a year, he said, they formed an inter-ministerial Working Group that mapped indicators for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and selected 20 targets that will allow them to monitor implementation based on measurable results.

Even when countries emerge from conflict situations, there may remain issues of security, such as terrorism and organized crimes. In order to combat these threats and safeguard economic potential, “we must also protect our borders and ensure maritime security,” he said.

Even after 14 years since Timor-Leste became the 191st UN Member State, the country has yet to define maritime borders with Indonesia and Australia. “The delimitation of our maritime borders will ensure our sovereign rights and give us certainty with respect to what belongs to us, thus ensuring our economic stability, and even our self-sufficiency, and a better future for our people and our nation,” he said.

He said that promoting intergovernmental coherence while strengthening the Peacebuilding Commission and partnerships would improve the United Nations system.  “Our joint efforts need to be able to respond more effectively to the challenges facing our nations and peoples,” he said, expressing concern over inequality and conflicts.

International peace and security could only be maintained if countries became an integral part of solutions to problems.  Regional integration generated opportunities for economic development and contributed to national and regional peace and stability, he said, adding that his country aspired to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the opportunity to fulfil the dreams of its people.