Dili, 02 September 2012 - The President of Timor-Leste Taur Matan Rauk has said that the United Nation's Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) will be long remembered as a success in peacekeeping operations.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark the 13th anniversary of the Popular Consultation in which the Timorese people voted for independence, Taur Matan Rauk said that even when UNMIT's mandate ends later this year, Timor-Leste's partnership with the United Nations will go on.
He said: "The United Nations has for the last 13 years accompanied and supported us in our tasks in State and Nation building. Experience, competence and sensitivity of many mission chiefs and envoys contributed to the results achieved."
President Taur Matan Rauk highlighted the recent visit by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who witnessed the progress made as UNMIT's mission comes to an end.
He said: "UNMIT's contribution in stabilizing the country, creating an atmosphere of trust and ensuring conditions to hold the 2007 and 2012 elections deserves recognition and will be long remembered as a success in peacekeeping operations."
"I salute the Acting Representative of the Secretary-General Mr. Finn Reske-Nielsen and all UNMIT personnel. I'll mention in particular the UNPOL Commissioner and the men and women under his command for their contribution to the safety of our communities, the assistance given to PNTL and the logistics of the latest elections which, again, ensured the free expression of our citizens' choices after 5 five years that saw confidence restored and a changed atmosphere in our country."
The President added: "The mandate of UNMIT ends later this year but our partnership with the United Nations will go on. Our country will soon present a plan with the goals we see for a UN mission in the new circumstances arising from the latest elections."
Representing UNMIT, Police Commissioner Luis Carrilho said: "We all know the impressive advances Timor-Leste has made since 1999, in building its institutions and restoring self-determination, security, and hope for the future for its citizens.
"I believe that there is no better way to celebrate this day than to pay tribute to the tireless work and endless dedication to all the Timorese women and men who work for a safer, better, and more prosperous future for their families and their communities. They are the ones that make sure, every day, that Timor-Leste is really able to determine its own future. The United Nations is proud to support them, and their leaders, in these efforts."