Security Council Press Briefing Transcript- November 30 2007
UNMIT Spokesperson Allison Cooper: Good afternoon everybody. Today we are delighted to have the Security Council Delegation here. The Head of Delegation Ambassador Kumalo will make a statement on behalf of the delegation and we will then open up for questioning. Time is brief so please keep it to one question and introduce yourself and your organization.
Ambassador Kumalo: Let me begin by really expressing our deepest thanks and gratitude to the President of the Republic, President Horta and his Government and the people of Timor-Leste for having been so generous with your time and having made us feel at home for the past three days. We would also like to thank our colleagues here at UNMIT, Mr Atul Khare and his colleagues here at UNMIT who also made our stay very wonderful. We spent several days in this country, not only in Dili, but we went out to two parts of the country, one in the east and one in the west and we have talked to everybody from the President, the Prime Minister, the political parties, the opposition, the NGOs, the women's groups, the IDP camps, we went to the police stations, and we went to schools.
We went all over this country and our general impression is that this country is doing very well and the security appears to be very good, but this country still needs a lot of international assistance and we will go back to New York and we will write a report for the Security Council. We haven't even had time to talk amongst ourselves what will be in that report but I can assure you that there will be continued international support for the UN on the ground here to do its work, because we are very pleased with the work the UN has done. So we are going back to write the report, to look at all the documents and all the issues that were given to us and report back to our bosses.
So that is really what we can say and then we will take your questions. Thank you.
Question, Jose Belo, Tempo Seminal
I have one concern about security sector reform. It is mandated in the Security Council Resolution and so far it has gone slowly and it seems likely that this mission will repeat the failures of the previous missions in setting up the PNTL which were at the root of last year's violence.
Again I ask you, why was your visit to Emera cancelled, was it because of Major Alfredo Reinado being there.
Security sector reform is something will be done by the Government of Timor-Leste, the international community can't do it for the Government of Timor-Leste as we are ready to assist in security sector reform once the Government has decided on how they want to proceeed. Yes, the issue of the police was raised with us, many are happy with the police but many others are unhappy with some of that we have heard from many people. But security sector reform is the prerogative of the Government of Timor-Leste and they will, when they are ready will decide how it's done and we in the international community will assist them but we can't do it for the Government and the people of Timor-Leste.
I am not familiar with this province you have mentioned. We went to two places. Again it was because of how far we could go and still be able to spend the time we have. So we went to one place called Liqicia and we also went to Baucau but we chose those places for what was possible. We didn't have too much time but we wanted to go out on the ground and meet ordinary people so they could tell us how they are seeing the situation on the ground. That was very important to us.
Pedro Mendes, LUSA. Mr Kumalo are you aware of a letter written to Secretary-General of a letter written by Alfredo Reindao asking for peace and negotiation.
We are not aware of a letter by Mr Reinado to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. But I must tell you as we went around Timor- Leste people said there are three major issues that are common wherever we were. One is resolving the case of Mr Reinado, the other was the IDPs and the other one was the Petitioners. The President of the Republic of Timor-Leste did brief us that he dealing with these three issues and he is engaged with trying to solve these issues including Major Reinado. But we haven't heard of this letter, may be when we get to New York we will receive this letter.
My name is Vonia from Voice of America, I want to ask what recommendation the Security Council will give to the Government of Tl about the security
The recommendations we are going to give will be given to the Security Council. We were sent here by the Security Council so that is who we will write the report for. Remember next February the Security Council will renew the mandate of UNMIT, we only represent six of the 15 members so we will give the report to them. We are not here to give a report to the Government as such but the Government does know that sometimes they have assisted us, the Minister of Foreign Affairs has been with us on some occasions. Thank you.
Thanks Stephanie March from ABC Radio Australia. Earlier this week an open letter signed by 60 NGO human rights groups called on the UN to hold an ad-hoc international tribunal to prosecute Indonesians involved in war crimes as was recommended by the CAVR report and the Commission of Experts. What is the Security Council's thought on that request and why has the 2005 recommendation not being acted upon so far.
Who made the request?
The request was made by UN Commission of Experts in 2005 and it was also recommended by the CAVR report
So what is the question?
I am asking what the Security Council is going to do to prosecute members of Indonesian army?
We didn't come here to see if a Tribunal can be set or not. We came here in relation to the mandate of UNMIT. Setting up tribunals is a complicated process where the Government has to request. We didn't come here for that, nobody has raised it. Yes, people did raise the issues of justice and law and order, and that they want to see more law and order, more justice, but this is not one of the reasons we are here. We are here to look at the UN presence in Timor-Leste and make suggestions about the extension of the UN mandate here.
Tinta from TVTL, during your visit you met with the political parties, civil society and members of government. What were the main problems raised by these entities and what is the priority in the short term?
I think the priority in the short term for this country is to continue with a process national reconciliation and dialogue among the parties. One thing that became clear to us and me is that the problems that Timor-Leste faces are problems that can't be solved by Fretilin, or democratic parties, or the Government. These are problems that can only be solved by all the people of Timor-Leste. So we have been saying that and I have been saying that to all. Even the IDPs, we met with the IDPs this morning, who live under very terrible conditions and it is very clear that these are issues that should be addressed by the people of Timor-Leste working all together and I have great faith that the Government of Timor-Leste and the people can solve these problems. You have come a long way and you can do it and we will support you but we cannot do it for you but we will be there for you if you are doing it yourselves and support you all the way.
Julio da Costa, Diario Nacional. Based on our information so far we find the major problems are Reinado and the Petitioners. During your visit did you manage to have private contact with the Petitioners and Reinado. Second question is in relation to your meeting with the NGOS, there are some issues where you had a divergent point of view. What is your comment on this?
The first question. I don't know who Mr Reinado is, maybe he showed up somewhere in the street, so I didn't meet anyone called Reinado and we were also not looking for Mr Reinado so maybe he was there somewhere. No, we were here to talk to all the people of Timor-Leste and we talked to as many as we could. Nobody contacted us about Mr Reinado but many people said the resolution of the Reinado case is very important, the resolution of the IDPs is very important, the resolution of the Petitioners is very important but the only people we met are those in the IDPs camps. The petitioners we didn't meet, Mr Reinado we didn't meet at least as far as I know because I don't know him.
But regarding the views. We did not come to Timor-Leste with views. We came here to listen to your views. YES it is true the NGOs had many different views. That is the thing that is very exciting about Timor-Leste. You guys talk, you have different views so we listen and now it's for you to implement your talk and views and we will support you. That is all we can do. Our views do not matter, we listen to what you tell us and we are taking what you told us. We will put in the report to the Security Council and the Security Council will use that information in making a decision on the extension of the UN mandate.
Pedro Mendes Rosa from LUSA. This is a question to the Ambassador for China. I understand that you think UNMIT is too big a mission for such a small country. Would you defend a downsize of the mission?
The UNMIT mission is a very impressive mission. It's an integrated mission working in Timor-Leste in all aspects of the issue including support for the Timor-Leste Government for security sector reform. UNMIT has been doing very well, as Ambassador Kumalo said when the Security Council comes to renew the mandate of UNMIT that will be part of the issue we are going to discuss. But it is not for this Delegation to assess that. It will be assessed by UNMIT itself and by the Secretariat and Security and they will submit their decision to the Security Council and the Security Council will make a decision.
Gantry from AP Television. In your meeting yesterday with the political parties you are talking about continuing UNMIT in Timor-Leste. Does the Security Council think that the UN mission is needed in Timor-Leste.
Oh absolutely, yes. The UN mission is still needed in Timor-Leste. There is no doubt about that. It is needed in Timor-Leste and as Ambassador Liu said we are now going to report back to the Security Council and the Security Council will decide on theextension. But we will convey to them that the Scurity Council is still needed.
UNMIT Spokesperson: Ambassador Kumalo has kindly offered to stay until 4.10 in recognition of our late start, but the weather is closing in and they will need to leave for the airport as there plane is going to need to take off.