26 December 2007

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Madam Ban Soon-taek flew from Bali to Timor-Leste on Friday morning, 14 December.

The Secretary-General met with President José Ramos-Horta, before having a working luncheon with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão and members of his Cabinet.  Speaking to reporters after the luncheon, the Secretary-General said he and the Prime Minister had held substantive discussions on the security and justice sector, socio-economic development and the humanitarian situation of the internally displaced persons.  He said he believed that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are doing an excellent job in tackling many difficult issues.

The Secretary-General later met Fernando Lasama de Araújo, President of Parliament, and he addressed the Timorese Parliament, telling them that he felt both moved and proud to visit a country, where, since 1999, the United Nations has undertaken one of the most formidable responsibilities it has ever been given.  He told the Parliament that the road to Timor-Leste’s nationhood was long and had required difficult decisions and severe sacrifices, and added: “The road to building enduring, stable and democratic institutions, underpinned by the rule of law, will be long too.”  (See Press Release SG/SM/11334)

He later met with United Nations staff and with civil society representatives.  He also visited a police station and the Motael camp for internally displaced people.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the day, he said he had seen the encouraging advances that have been made in the country, and especially commended the Timorese for the peaceful conduct of this year’s elections.  He underlined, however, the many challenges to the security sector as a whole, including the armed forces and the judiciary.  This is not the time for complacency or self-congratulations, he said.  Now, the promise of the elections must be fulfilled, he added, and the State must demonstrate its ability to implement lasting solutions.  It must address poverty challenges and socio-economic concerns that affect Timor-Leste

The Secretary-General was asked about the state of the climate change talks happening at the time in Bali, Indonesia, and told reporters that he would return to Bali the following day to check the status of negotiations and, if necessary, he would again meet with the delegations present there.

Later in the day he met the representatives of the political movement Fretilin.

That evening, the Secretary-General attended a dinner hosted by President Ramos-Horta and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Atul Khare.

He returned to Bali on Saturday, 15 December.

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For information media • not an official record