H. E. MR. YUKIO SATOH
Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Open Meeting of the Security Council on the Situation in East Timor
30 January 2002
I would like to thank you for convening today's meeting on this important subject. I welcome the report Secretary-General Kofi Annan presented on January 17 to the Security Council on the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (S/2002/80), and also appreciate today’s briefing by his Special Representative, Mr. Sergio de Mello, and by East Timor’s Senior Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta.
At the outset, I would like to once again express, on behalf of the Government of Japan, our high regard for the contributions that UNTAET has made toward the efforts for East Timor's independence and the leadership Mr. de Mello has demonstrated in the process. Naturally, the Government of Japan supports the extension of UNTAET’s mandate, as recommended in the Secretary-General's report, until May 20 of this year, the date East Timor is to become independent.
I would also like to take this opportunity to reiterate our admiration for the people of East Timor who, in cooperation with UNTAET, have been making strenuous efforts to achieve their own independence. We would encourage them to tackle with a sense of ownership the remaining tasks leading up to independence, including the adoption of the new constitution as well as the holding of the presidential election.
The Government of Japan, for its part, will continue to extend to the people of East Timor and to UNTAET its utmost cooperation and assistance in order to ensure the stability and prosperity of East Timor.
Vitally important for the stability of East Timor is a comprehensive resolution of the issue of East Timorese refugees. With this recognition, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi recently announced, in response to the joint appeal made by the United Nations and the Government of Indonesia, that Japan would extend assistance amounting to 5.39 million dollars to support East Timor refugees in West Timor. Prime Minister Koizumi also told Mr. Xanana Gusmao, the former chairman of the National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), who is now visiting Japan, that the Japanese Government will consider extending assistance amounting to one million dollars for the activities of the Commission on Reception, Truth and Reconciliation.
Furthermore, the Government of Japan is now preparing to dispatch an approximately 700-strong engineering group of its Self-Defense Forces to the peacekeeping operations in East Timor. The engineering group is planned to begin its deployment on the ground in the course of March and April to engage in the construction and repair of roads and bridges, which will also be contributing to the reconstruction and development of East Timor.
We are pleased to note in the Secretary-General's report the progress being made in planning the functions and structure of the post-UNTAET follow-on mission. The Government of Japan is of the view that a United Nations presence is necessary in order to ensure the stability of East Timor after it achieves independence. We therefore hope that the work of preparing the Secretary-General's recommendations on the follow-on mission will be completed as soon as possible and that the Security Council will promptly decide on the establishment of the mission.
I would also like to make it clear in this context that the Japanese Government supports the idea of funding a minimum and indispensable civilian component, including 100 key functions, with peacekeeping assessed contributions.
The soon to be achieved independence of East Timor will be a success story for the world where conflict and instability are widespread. But as I have stated several times in this Council, many difficulties lie ahead for East Timor before and after independence, and it is the responsibility of the international community to continue to extend its support and cooperation for the people of East Timor. Recognizing this, the Government of Japan is determined to continue to play an important role in the international community's efforts to support East Timor.