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22 August 2008

East Timor acted in "rapid, firm and responsible manner" after assassination says Security Council

UNITED NATIONS 19 August 2008 -- Today, the Security Council lauded the actions of the central government of Timore-Leste following an effort back in February to kill the both the President and Prime Minister.

In two different incidents on the same day, both men were attacked by men tied to Alfredo Reinado, who was on the run from the police there. Although Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão luckily was uninjured, President José Ramos-Horta was hurt severely.

Current Security Council President Ambassador Jan Grauls of Belgium praised the “rapid, firm and responsible manner” with which Timor-Leste dealt with the aftermath of the assassination attempts. He said the Council particularly was pleased with Timor-Leste’s adherence to constitutional procedures. Nonetheless, the Security Council said that despite Timor-Leste’s recent stability, the “political, security, social and humanitarian situation in the country remains fragile.”

In addition, Atul Khare, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Timor-Leste has told the Security Council about questions surrounding some actions by troops in the wake of the attacks on the leaders.

Mr. Khare said, “The Government has been responsive when those concerns were raised” but that “it is not clear how effectively Government concerns are being institutionalized and articulated farther down the ranks.” He warned against a “culture of impunity” but saw the initiation at the end of July of sessions for judicial officers in order to avoid future abuse as a good sign.Earlier this month the Secretary General likewise commended the stability of the institutions of Timor-Leste after the failed assassinations and applauded the lack of violence. He said that, “The leaders and people of Timor-Leste did not allow these events to jeopardize the country’s overall stability…[t]he security situation remained calm. Efforts to foster dialogue and reconciliation continued.”

However, Ban Ki-Moon too was concerned about the future of the country and said that Timor-Leste, as well as the international community, must continue to work to bolster stability.

The Council also discussed today the UN panel created to analyze the violence that broke out in 2006 in Timor Leste. It has urged the country to fully implement the suggestions offered by the panel and said it welcomes the conviction of the leaders of Timor-Leste on the need for justice and their determination to act against impunity.”

This will be added by the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for 2009-2013, which was agreed upon during the first week of August. Finn Reske-Nielsen deputy head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste says that “Timor-Leste is moving into a more stable phase that enables it to address the need for strong, efficient and effective institutions and improve the lives of its citizens throughout the country.” In outlining the objective of the UNDAF he explained that, “At the end of the five years, we would expect that the courts and Government institutions are stronger and trusted. We would also expect to see more and better schools, health facilities, infrastructure and social protection.” - Caroline Patton

Post sponsored by East Timor Legal Information Site

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