H. E. MR. YUKIO SATOH
Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Open Meeting of the Security Council on the Situation in East Timor
26 April 2002
I want to thank you for convening today's meeting on this important subject.
First of all, on behalf of the Government of Japan, I would like to congratulate Mr. Xanana Gusmao on his recent election as the first President of independent East Timor.
I would also like to pay tribute to Mr. Mari Alkatiri, who has been serving as the Chief Minister of the Transitional Government of East Timor and, with independence, will continue to assume the important duties for nation-building of East Timor.
Furthermore, I would like to extend once again our congratulations on the successful presidential election in East Timor on April 14th. The international community, including the observation team dispatched by the Government of Japan, assessed the election as having been held in a free and fair manner. The success of this presidential election, following the Constituent Assembly elections held in August last year, is yet another testimony to the East Timorese's firm commitment to democracy.
In his congratulatory message to President-elect Mr. Gusmao, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi expressed the hope that Mr. Gusmao, in solidarity with the Government and people of East Timor, will tackle the tasks required to build a self-reliant nation. Prime Minister Koizumi also expressed the intention of the Government of Japan to continue to extend to East Timor as much support as possible.
This coming Monday, Prime Minister Koizumi will visit East Timor. This visit is aimed at conveying directly to the leaders and people of East Timor the Japanese people's message of congratulation and their determination to assist East Timor. The Prime Minister is looking forward to meeting Mr. Gusmao and Mr. Alkatiri in Dili and to discussing with them the future of East Timor as well as the political stability and economic development of the Asia-Pacific region.
The Government of Japan has been making efforts to play a leading role within the international community in supporting East Timor; indeed, it is already the largest donor in terms of actual disbursement.
The Japanese Government has already extended $120 million for reconstruction and development as well as for humanitarian assistance on the basis of the pledge to provide $130 million to these ends over three years, which we made at the first donor conference we hosted in Tokyo in December 1999.
In addition, an engineering group of 680 troops, including female members, of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces has completed its deployment in East Timor this month to participate in the United Nations peacekeeping operations. They will engage in the construction and repair of roads and bridges, which are also expected to contribute to the reconstruction and development of East Timor.
What UNTAET has achieved in East Timor is a success story which the United Nations should be proud of. We cannot overemphasize the important role UNTAET has played over the past two years and a half in assisting East Timor's progress toward independence. I would therefore like to express the Japanese Government's admiration and appreciation to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Sergio de Mello, and the other members of UNTAET for their leadership and dedicated efforts throughout this period.
I also welcome the report on East Timor which Secretary-General Kofi Annan submitted to the Security Council on April 17 (S/2002/432). The Government of Japan supports the plan described in the report concerning the mandate, structure and timetable of a United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). The Japanese Government also supports the recommendation of the Secretary-General that the Security Council adopt a resolution giving a mandate to UNMISET for its initial period of one year.
It is clear to everyone's eyes that after independence East Timor will face a number of difficult challenges. With this recognition, I would like to point out that it is important for the leadership of East Timor to lead their country in solidarity; that it is important for the people of East Timor to participate in the efforts for nation-building taking their country’s development as a matter of their own responsibility; and that it is important for the international community to continue its support for East Timor. I would like to emphasize, in particular, that the support of the international community and the development of good cooperative relations between East Timor and neighboring countries are indispensable for the stability and prosperity of East Timor.
The Government of Japan, for its part, is determined to spare no effort to continue to play an important role in the international efforts to support for East Timor.