Subject: Xanana's address to Lisbon Donors Conference

[Full text, English translation by CNRT.]

East Timor Donors Conference - Lisbon, 22 to 23 June 2000

Opening Address by National Council of Timorese Resistance (CNRT), Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao

His Excellency Mr. Jaime Gama Minister of Foreign Affairs, Portugal His Excellency Mr. Sergio Vieira de Mello Distinguished Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Transitional Administrator of East Timor His Excellency Jemal Kassum Distinguished Asia-Pacific Vice President of the World Bank Distinguished Representatives of Governments and International Organizations Ladies and Gentlemen

Dear Friends of East Timor,

It is an immense joy for us to re-visit this beautiful city of Lisbon, the capital of a friendly and fraternal country, whose People have continuously and creatively expressed their great solidarity and friendship towards our People.

We are deeply touched by the numerous expressions of art, poetry, painting and music as well as all the cultural demonstrations undertaken by the Portuguese People for the People of East Timor. It is with immense emotion that we acknowledge that these generous acts by Portuguese anonymous citizens, non-governmental organisations, public and private institutions have reached East Timor.

I wish to address a special word of gratitude to the Portuguese government. Portugal has always understood the yearnings of the East Timorese and has wisely conveyed that reality to other institutions and governments. This country has known, in an assertive and speedy way, how to maintain its solidarity towards East Timor and its support has reached us in many different ways.

Apart from other forms of support, Portugal did not hesitate to allocate specific and direct support to the CNRT. This assistance has been essential to strengthen the organisational and logistical capacity of the CNRT. Portugal understood that the CNRT was in need of material, financial and technical resources to efficiently meet the growing needs of this transitional phase.

On behalf of the CNRT - National Council of Timorese Resistance - we also wish to express our profound gratitude to the governments of the countries attending this Conference and to the United Nations and to the International Organisations represented here today for the decisive action to restore peace and tranquillity throughout the national territory of East Timor, for the support to national reconstruction and the establishment of a transitional administration leading to national independence.

The support rendered by the international community represented here has been of paramount importance to consolidate the steps given in the transitional process towards independence.

The differences from Tokyo to Lisbon are not merely of time and place. The major difference was the dynamic change in the prospects acquired throughout these past months.

The past 6 months were a fruitful learning process for the East Timorese and we believe that it has also been so for all those involved in the process to prepare the country for independence.

We wish to greet all those who, day or night, in the cities, villages and mountains of East Timor have forsaken the best of their skills and energy to ensure that by the end of this process we may toast the success of the birth of East Timor in peace and tranquillity. We wish to greet, in particular, the dedicated and tireless role of our great friend, Sergio Vieira de Mello, Transitional Administrator of East Timor.

The task of rebuilding East Timor should not be merely seen in the physical and economic point of view. The political and social viewpoints are the major references on which to enlarge upon the process.

The current situation of our country is undeniably calm. It is in this context that several structures are operating with a certain degree of normality. We must be resolute when it comes to political and social stability.

We wish to pinpoint the understanding and cooperation between UNTAET and the CNRT as the determining factor for this global positive effect and although, occasionally, we have been through difficult moments, we deem them as unavoidable in a social process of such nature and dimension. As one may understand, amongst other difficulties, it is not easy to tune into the activities carried out by technical staff and experts from so many different countries with so many diverse mindsets and from so many different organisations with distinct experiences, customs and cultures.

During the process of designing the July 2000-June 2001 Budget, which sets the estimates for the next two years, it was necessary to undertake an in-depth reflection on the Transitional Administration.

Ever since the beginning, the CNRT believed that only a true partnership between the United Nations and the East Timorese, within a coordinating structure, would enable an efficient governance during the transitional period.

In Tokyo, in December last year, we stated that we sought a true partnership with the international community whilst implementing the reconstruction programme. That was the moment when we should have begun preparations to take up governance by the end of the transition period. We stated then that this preparation would only be successful if we had an adequate participation in the administration during the transition. At the time, we urged the international community to give utmost priority to the training of the East Timorese at all levels. We also stressed the need, whenever possible, for all foreigners at UNTAET, UN agencies and NGOs to work side by side with the East Timorese.

Six months after an exclusive UNTAET Administration, UNTAET and the CNRT agreed on the new Transitional Administration which will come into effect as from July this year.

In this framework, it was possible to set the principle of appointing East Timorese to head Departments and different Services. As from July 2000 some of the Departments and Services will be headed by East Timorese, whether or not they are CNRT members. In those cases were it is not yet possible to have an immediate appointment, an East Timorese will be designated to hold the position of deputy so that, gradually, more East Timorese are called to hold such responsibilities.

Our purpose is that after the declaration of independence, the Administration be fully East Timorese, in a democratic, responsible and competent manner. However, in the banking sector, finances and justice, amongst others, the East Timorese may request technical advice from international experts, via UN and/or bilateral agreements.

Such decisions embody the concept that a true UNTAET-CNRT partnership aims at reaching independence in a peaceful and competent way, thereby ensuring the success of the UN mission in East Timor. We are certain that this success will also be that of all the international community.

It was also possible for UNTAET and the CNRT to agree on the Budget for 2000-2001, with estimates for the next two years. We recall that in the framework of the Tokyo Conference, the Joint Assessment Mission, headed by the World Bank, assessed the number of civil servants for East Timor as 12,000, plus the Police force. The CNRT strategy on the Salaries Fund was accepted and it envisages a reduction of the number of civil servants to 9,035, including the 500 Police agents and the reinforcing of the financial sector.

Simultaneously, the CNRT set the goal of increasing the quality and efficiency of the governing apparatus, the relative improvement of the salary levels, which average is only US$ 137,9 per month, without jeopardising the maximum budgetary ceilings advised by the IMF, the World Bank and the UNTAET structures.

This realistic vision of the CNRT envisages the establishment of a small, modern, functional, reliable and sustainable State apparatus, with means available, but which is accountable, thereby ensuring a good and efficient co-ordination and the implementation and monitoring of reconstruction and development programmes and projects.

We urge all donors to ensure that all agreements and contracts are duly channeled and approved by the different structures of the Administration which, from now onwards will be jointly shared by UNTAET and the East Timorese. Thus, it will be possible to ascertain the necessary co-ordination and adequate information flows for the benefit of all.


As the market is being re-established, new entrepreneurial initiatives are showing up here and there, with an emphasis in the production of consumption goods for the population and the setting up of hotels and restaurants and similar services. Soon, the law on national and foreign investment will be adopted so as to define incentives and regulate the private sector of the economy and thus contribute to a greater growth in the production and movement of goods.

In this process of bringing back normality to economic and social life, the transitional Administration will soon introduce charges on the supply of basic services such as energy and water and the rendering of different public services.

During this year we also envisage the establishment of several taxes and duties. During the coming two months tariffs, taxes and duties will be levied on the major economic agents, such as hotels, restaurants and UN staff, and will be gradually extended to cover the whole country. A study is being carried out to assess the type of tax to introduce, the level of taxes and the time and mode of implementation.

Although there are different perceptions on the implementation process of these measures, the NCC - National Consultative Council - chose to implement this policy in a cautious and phased way. Consequently, the introduction of the fiscal policy will be gradual and bear in mind that the economy was devastated and needs time to revive. It is expected that the system be fully introduced by the date of independence.

Within the framework of reorganising the economy in a transparent way, we will establish an Inspectorate General and hire the services of an international independent enterprise to carry out the pre-shipment monitoring of imported and exported goods, to safeguard quality, price and quantity of goods. During the coming months we will also reinforce the control mechanisms for the in-coming and out-going of goods and people to and from East Timor.

Our commitment aims at introducing a greater level of rigour in the economy and in the management of public property and at encouraging the private sector to develop national production.

The changes to be introduced in the Cabinet must be accompanied with actions taken at legislative level, so to implement the rule of separation of powers.

To this end, the National Consultative Council (NCC) which is part of UNTAET, will evolve to be broader and include district and civil society representatives, such as women, youth, national NGOs, social and professional associations, private sector, workers and farmers, and different religious denominations.

With the technical support from UNTAET, this National Legislative Council will have the power to legislate and enact laws and consult the Cabinet whenever deemed necessary. In this framework, the National Legislative Council (NLC), with a composition which is fully East Timorese, although not yet elected, will be the embryo of the future legislative body.

We deem all these steps as crucial so that together we may look at the future of East Timor with greater confidence and make it a sustainable one.

In this way, we are certain to contribute towards the success of UNTAET, of the United Nations as a whole, of the international community and of the People of East Timor.

These are the thoughts we bring to this conference with the objective of endowing East Timor with efficient legislative and executive bodies which may bear concrete results.

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests,

We have registered little progress in the implementation of the national reconstruction plans and programmes defined by the Tokyo Conference. We are concerned with the scarce results.

Not only the infrastructures are useless but their slow recovery is not generating positive effects in the economy. A reflection of this is the low level of national production, the high level of unemployment and the increasing inflation of prices. Such phenomena contribute to the social instability which still prevails in the country.

Given this difficult social and economic situation, and without loosing sight of the criteria of rigour to be applied in the disbursement of aid funds, we urge the donors to grant an exceptional status to East Timor, by simplifying and speeding up the excessive administrative mechanisms, so that the impact of infrastructures' reconstruction is felt by all the society.

The speedy establishment of a shared Administration will give greater impetus to your generous support and understanding of the reality in East Timor.


This effort of organising a State and a society is part of the global process which will lead East Timor to independence. It is also with this goal in mind that the CNRT National Congress is being organised to be held in August and where we expect to establish national policies on economic development and the political development which will prevail after independence.

During the Congress we will establish a Commission to design a draft Constitution, to be submitted to popular consultation so to collect the contributions of the Timorese society. These contributions will be included in the draft Constitution to be submitted to an elected Constituent Assembly.

The Congress will also discuss the law on political parties and the first general elections and will submit these to a decision by the National Legislative Council.

This is the process we will be embarking on during the coming months and involve all the segments of East Timorese society.

Last week I had the opportunity to open the First Congress of East Timorese Women, in Dili, with the participation of 700 women. Women representing all the districts not only emphasized the importance to promote their rights and gender equity but also called for a greater involvement in the reconstruction process and in the social, economic and political development.

The CNRT recognizes the participation of women and youth in the decision-making process, including at its highest level within the Transitional Administration. We are sure that the Transitional Administration will contribute to ensure gender equity, the promotion of youth and of social and professional associations, by allocating adequate funding to guarantee the full participation of all the East Timorese.

It is also within this framework that our efforts on national reconciliation are being made. We endorse the stance taken by our distinguished Bishop and Nobel Peace Laureate, D. Ximenes Belo, who asked all to hold hands with those East Timorese who are still undecided as to their return to the Motherland, asking them to publicly ask for forgiveness and accept the outcome of the 30 of August referendum.

Integrating these fellow countrymen in the different sectors of economy and society will bring stability and a greater capacity to wage the struggle for development and for the well-being of the People of East Timor.

In ending, a word on those who made it possible that the right of the East Timorese People turned into reality. We all recall the extremely difficult decision taken by FALINTIL not to answer to TNI and militia violence. Today, however, after nine months of cantonment, the FALINTIL soldiers are still lacking minimum conditions for subsistence as human beings.

We are aware of how hard it is for armed groups to be recipients of support, even humanitarian support, by the international community. We have called on these brave architects of the East Timorese Motherland, to keep the same sense of self-sacrifice and abnegation, since the People themselves are going through a difficult social and economic situation. However, recent events of quasi-rebellion prove how difficult it is to extend their suffering.

We, as East Timorese leaders, and you, distinguished representatives of the international community, are faced with a dilemma - either we continue not to support FALINTIL and relegate them to an inhuman condition, or we will all pay a high political and social price. It is easy to conclude that the price to be paid in terms of global financial expenses will be much higher. We, therefore, urge all donors to look at this sensitive issue and enable it to be overcome in a dignified way and as urgently as possible.

As the CNRT President I wish to make it very clear that, for us, this is an extremely serious problem and its non-solution is affecting many other situations within the country. This problem demands a special attention from all of you, Your Excellencies.

Security and tranquillity throughout the territory of East Timor are basic assumptions for the proclamation and consolidation of independence and demand for the establishment of the future National Security Force, of which FALINTIL is the embryo.

Stability in East Timor is important in the framework of the geo- economy of our region within which we intend to consolidate peace, cooperation and harmony among peoples.

In this framework, we will continue to maintain the high level of relationship already established with Indonesia, with Australia and the remaining ASEAN and South Pacific countries.

Once again, on behalf of the East Timorese people, we wish to express our confidence that the international community will continue to support us during this still difficult phase. We are certain that with your support, the people of East Timor will meet your expectations in creating democratic institutions, led by the rules of competence, transparency and accountability.

We trust there is a future of happiness for East Timor and your support will surely contribute to the strengthening of our national identity and independence.

Thank You.

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