Statement by H.E. Mr. Tsuneo Nishida
Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Debate of the Security Council
On the Situation in Timor-Leste
22 February 11
I would like to begin by extending a warm welcome to H.E. Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão, Prime Minister of Timor-Leste, and to thank him for his statement. I would also like to appreciate Ms. Ameerah Haq for her briefing to the Council in her capacity as Special Representative of the Secretary-General.
Japan highly commends the positive developments that have taken place in Timor-Leste over the course of the last year. As mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, the situation remains calm, almost all IDPs have returned to their home towns and, most significantly, the Government has made notable progress in the area of security sector reform by legislating relevant laws, well in advance of receiving the support of UNMIT for its comprehensive review.
We may say that Timor-Leste is at a critical juncture along the path towards a prosperous and responsible nation. In particular, the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled during the first half of 2012 will be a great importance. We look forward to seeing a transparent and democratic elections conducted proudly by the Timorese people. In order to achieve such a goal, it is critically important to have not only adequate logistical and administrative capacity but also security. In order to successfully conduct the elections, Japan stands ready to assist Timor-Leste working with UNMIT in the area of electoral support, as requested.
We highly commend the successful resumption of policing responsibility in most of the districts. We have seen the PNTL and UNPOL work together in the districts where policing responsibility has now been handed over, but what is more urgently needed, in accordance with the plan of the SRSG for UNMIT, is to build within the PNTL more substantial capacities to actively engage in preventive policing activities as usually described as community policing. Although such low-profile activities are often given less attention by the public, they would contribute to better security in the longer term. Japan thus believes the Government of Timor-Leste should deepen its commitment in this area.
As for the issue of certification of PNTL officers, I trust the Government will find no reason to exempt the 52 officers who face serious disciplinary and criminal charges from further criminal and disciplinary procedures. Japan acknowledges the strong will and commitment of the Government to expedite the resumption process and to enable PNTL officers to gain as much experience as possible in advance of the critical elections in 2012 and the period beyond. However, lack of capacity in the judicial sector should also be acknowledged as a source of concern. In this regard, I concur with the SRSG, who urged the government and judicial authorities to take all measures necessary to ensure the integrity of the national police. The international community stands ready to support this endeavor.
Recently we observed that the Timorese budget has exceeded one billion dollars and that its population has surpassed one million. Such rapid expansion gives this young country great potential as well as poses socio-economic challenges. While we commend the work of the Government, it is worrisome to note that many young people remain unemployed and large numbers of youth are joining the labor market every year with limited opportunities for employment. Japan therefore would like to encourage the Government to put more emphasis on formulating policies for job creation and rural development.
Against this background, Japan strongly believes that the UNMIT’s presence and support are critically needed, especially to assist the Government in the successful conduct of the important elections in 2012. From that point of view, Japan strongly supports the extension of the mandate of UNMIT for another year at the strength proposed in the Secretary-General’s report. At the same time, Japan encourages not only the Government and UNMIT but also the Council and all interested stakeholders to engage actively in the discussions as to what kind of international support and commitment are most needed and suitable for Timor-Leste. I affirm Japan’s commitment in leading such effort.
It was regrettable that a Security Council mission to Timor-Leste which Japan had organized as lead country last October had to be postponed just before the planned departure, but we sincerely wish that the new members of the Council will undertake to reschedule the mission prior to the critical year 2012.
I would like to conclude by reiterating Japan’s continuing commitment to strengthening the friendship between our countries and cooperating with the Timorese people to support their nation-building efforts.