16 March 2010

United States declares Timor-Leste presents risk of introducing instruments of terror into international maritime commerce

ETLJB 16 March 2010 SYDNEY - On 15 March 2010, by Notification of the Imposition of Conditions of Entry for Certain Vessels Arriving to the United States From the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, the United States Coast Guard determined that ports in East Timor are not maintaining effective anti-terrorism measures.

Inclusive to this determination was an assessment that the Democratic Republic of East Timor presents significant risk of introducing instruments of terror into international maritime commerce.

The Coast Guard notified the Department of State of this determination pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 70110(c).

The restrictions will be effective from 29 March 2010.

The United States notified East Timor of this determination on 29 June 2009, and identified steps necessary to improve the antiterrorism measures in use at ports in the East Timor, as required by 46 U.S.C. 70109.

But 9 months later, the United States was not able to confirm that the identified deficiencies have been corrected. Accordingly, the restrictions were imposed.

The failure of East Timor to rectify the deficiencies in its maritime regulation system to combat the risks of terrorism is disappointing and yet another indication of the systematic failures in public policy and legislation that leaves East Timor, its neighbours and, it seems even countries as far away as the United States, at an increased risk of terrorism.

Recalling that Southeast Asia is a region where organised terrorism continues to pose a serious challenge to the national security of nearby countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines as well as all countries in the region, it is even more astonishing that this has not been a matter of priority and intervention by the East Timorese authorities - with the necessary support of the United Nations and donor countries.

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