10 December 2012

Meeting of the Council of Ministers of 5 December 2012

ETLJB 10 December 2012 - The V Constitutional Government met on Wednesday, 5 December 2012 in the meeting room of the Council of Ministers at the Government Palace in Dili, where the Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Dr Surin Pitsuwan was received during his visit to Timor-Leste.

Dr.Surin Pitsuwan spoke to the Government and ensured the Council that Timor-Leste’s integration into ASEAN is "being seriously considered" and that it would be "the 11.th country to join the organisation.

"Timor-Leste submitted its formal application for ASEAN accession in February 2011 and has been gradually gaining support among member States for full membership ever since.

At this meeting, the Council of Ministers approved:

1. Decree-Law that approves the organic law of the Ministry of Social Solidarity
Decree-Law n.º 41/2012 on September 7 states in its 29th article that the Ministry of Social Solidarity is "the central Government body responsible for the conception , implementation, coordination and evaluation of the policies defined and approved by the Council of Ministers in the areas of social security, welfare, natural disaster risk management and community reinsertion.

The Decree-Law aims to update the organizational structure to improve the efficiency of the administrative services of the Ministry of Social Solidarity, further equipping them with the skills needed to pursue policies in the areas of their responsibility as set out in the Program of the V Constitutional Government and the Activity Plan of the Ministry of Social Solidarity for 2013-2017.

2. Decree-Law that approves the organic law of the Ministry of Public Works
Decree-Law n.º 41/2012 on September 7 approves the Organic Law and in article 30.0,it states that the Ministry of Public Works is responsible for public policy implementation in the area of housing, urban development, water supply, sanitation and electricity. The development of infrastructure, is one of three pillars of the Strategic Development Plan due to its importance in promoting the social and economic development of Timor-Leste. The organizational model is based on central services with bodies having administrative and financial autonomy will allow for the more efficient management of public resources and services.

3. Proposal of the Resolution on the approval of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
The Council of Ministers approved the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) for ratification by the National Parliament. The international treaty defines the rights and obligations of States’ use of seas and oceans.

Timor-Leste is an island State with maritime borders not yet defined according to the fair rules of UNCLOS. The National Parliament has stated the need to fix maritime borders so that the country can meet its responsibilities in relation to both environmental protection and the conservation of its natural resources. This is a national priority and legal and technical teams will be created to define the borders and to provide technical advice on this matter to the Government.

4. ADB and JICA projects
Following the approval of the two contracted loans – at the meeting of the Council of Ministers on March 7, 2012, with JICA and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) - the Council of Ministers has approved the recommendations of the National Commission for Procurement, hiring companies which will implement engineering design and manage the supervision of the rehabilitation and maintenance of the roads linking Dili to Baucau, Dili to Tibar, Tibar to Liquica, Tibar to Gleno, Gleno to Ermera, and Manatuto to Natarbora.

Also considered by the Council of Ministers:

1. Medical treatment abroad
The prospect of a system of referring patients for medical treatment outside of the country, especially, Parliamentarians, members of Government and veterans.

Decree-Law n.o 9/2010, of July 21 regulates the process of Medical Care Abroad. The Ministry of Health has finished cooperation agreements with public and private hospitals in Indonesia for treatment and diagnosis of major diseases, for specialist and sub-specialist referrals. Similar cooperation agreements with Singapore are pending. The Government intends approach the Ministry of Health of Singapore to establish cooperation for patient transfers and for capacity building of the National Hospital Guido Valadares.

2. Presentation of the proposel to lease of EDTL electricity poles for installation of telecommunications cables.
The Council of Ministers has endorsed a draft lease contract with the communications operator Viettel for
this purpose.

Source: Government of East Timor Council of Ministers Press Release. Edited by Warren L. Wright

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