|Subject: SRSG's speech/ Radio UNTAET
interview on new Cabinet
SRSG Sergio Vieira de Melloís press briefing on Sat 15 July, 2000 at the swearing-in of East Timorís Transitional Cabinet.
I have invited the press today for an important announcement. As you are aware during the Tibar Conference I put forward the idea of a Transitional Government in East Timor to carry out the second phase of the transition. I received a most enthusiastic response from the East Timorese. In the wake of those debates, and following consultations with various sectors of the East Timorese society and counting with the endorsement of the Security Council during its open session on East Timor, the National Consultative Council approved on 14 July two ground-breaking regulations.
The first of these regulations established the Cabinet of the Transitional of East Timor, composed of eight Cabinet members, four of which are East Timorese and four international staff, responsible for broad portfolios. Also, the NCC decided to establish a National Council, composed of 33 representatives of relevant organizations of the East Timorese civil society. As soon as the criteria for the selection of the representatives to the National Council is finalised, I will conduct the necessary consultations with a view to appointing its members.
After intense consultations, the members of the Cabinet will be as follows:
Mr Jean-Christian Cady, French, born on 17 December 1943, in addition to his functions as my Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General will be responsible for the portfolio of Police and Emergency Services;
Internal Administration ≠ Judge Ana Pessoa, East Timorese, currently in Mozambique;
Political Affairs ≠ Peter W Galbraith, US citizen, born on 31 December 1950, diplomat, first US Ambassador to Croatia;
Infrastructure ≠ Engineer Joao Carrascalao, East Timorese, born on 11 August 1945;
Justice ≠ Judge Gita Honwana-Welch, Mozambican, born on 18 December 1948, lawyer;
Economic Affairs ≠ Mari Alkatari, East Timorese, born on 26 November 1949, lawyer;
Finance ≠ Michael Francino, Canadian, born on 20 September 1941, Head of the Central Fiscal Authority;
Social Affairs ≠ Father Filomeno Jacob, born on 11 March 1960, D.Phil in Anthropology, University of Oxford.
I also take this opportunity to announce that the Inspector-General will be Mr Mariano Lopes da Cruz, East Timorese, born on 17 December 1938, Chairman of the Public Service Commission.
At a later stage, as soon as the necessary consultations are completed, I will be announcing the names of the Deputy cabinet members and the name of the Chief of the Planning, Coordination and Environment Unit.
SRSG: Executive authority shared with the East Timorese
Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Special Representative to the Secretary-General, was interviewed by Radio UNTAET on July 15 after the Transitional Cabinet was named and the members sworn in. The following are excerpts:
Radio UNTAET: How extensive were the consultations for the Transitional Cabinet?
SRSG: There had been extensive consultations that I have had with members of the National Consultative Council (NCC) ≠ that they had among them spearheaded, as you can imagine, by Xanana Gusmao.
Yesterday morning (July 14) Xanana convened a meeting with a cross-section of representatives of the broader East Timorese civil society and debated with them the concept as well as the names and then he reported to me here, in the evening, that there had been broad consensus on those names. It was based on the understanding that new appointments would follow on the deputy Cabinet membersí position for other posts in units such as planning, program coordination, environment, human rights and later to the National Council that would help balance the East Timorese representation in the executive and in the legislative bodies.
Radio UNTAET: There was some surprise expressed this morning over the appointment of Ana Pessoa to one of the East Timorese Cabinet posts. She had lived in Mozambique for over two decades. How appropriate do you see her appointment?
SRSG: I donít see anything wrong in that. The fact that she has lived abroad does not mean she is incompetent to exercise functions inside East Timor in our Cabinet. She is a highly respected professional lawyer. If she has worked in Mozambique it is because she was in exile like many refugees ≠ who were under colonial rule or occupation and we are eagerly awaiting her return to take her place in the Cabinet.
The broader question is: are we not giving a preferential treatment to the diaspora; to the Portuguese speaking East Timorese? The answer is no. The answer is there should be no such distinction; there should be no such hierarchy of merit. I have told the new generation ≠ those who have remained in East Timor that their own merits will be recognized; they will be represented in positions of deputy cabinet members, that one would expect of the younger generation, as well as in other positions of the executive and definitely in the National Council.
Radio UNTAET: This is obviously a significant event for the transition of East Timor. On the point of Portuguese why was this morningís ceremony in a language where the majority of East Timorese have difficulty in understanding?
SRSG: It was not. Do you think the majority of East Timorese understand English? Of course they donít. My presentation was in English. I only read the oath in Portuguese because it so happens that the majority of Cabinet members understand and speak Portuguese. So again, letís not interpret anything out of the fact that I speak in one language or another. I wish I could speak in Bahasa and Tetun and Iím sure Iíll use all languages here. There is no particular reason why English or Portuguese is used by the Transitional Administrator. No worries in that regard!
Radio UNTAET: What do you see as significant in this morningís ceremony?
SRSG: Obviously political. But it is also psychological, I think. The message to the Timorese is that when we say; when we speak of participation; of inclusion; we now can actually demonstrate the sharing of executive authority. We have shown we mean what we say. Apart from that we can from now on provide to the Timorese population as well as to our international partners one single point of entry ≠ one single focal point in each of the main sectors of public activity ≠ to the government of East Timor. This would enable them to resolve the many contradictions and difficulties that had existed so far when they had to approach UNTAET; approach the CNRT; approach other political parties; approach the NGOs before they actually came to a conclusion on what were the true interests of this country in a particular sector.
From now on if they want to discuss infrastructure, they will deal with a Cabinet member for infrastructure; if it is justice they would deal with a Cabinet member for justice etc. It would provide coherence; it would provide order; it would provide discipline and credibility to the executive of East Timor.
DM: So how will the relationship be between the Cabinet and the National Council and also yourself?
SRSG: My relationship with the Cabinet will be very simple. I will chair weekly meetings of the Cabinet assisted by my deputy who will have a coordination function of the Cabinet as a whole since he replaces me in my absence ≠ he is my alter ego. Therefore he will have a particular role because he is also a member of the Council.
As far as our joint relationship with the National Council is concerned it will be no different from the relationship we have had in the past with the National Consultative Council. However, now, there will be a clear distinction. As you know some of us are members of the NCC ≠ I chair it. In future, no member of the Cabinet will be a member of the National Council. So we will be witnessing a clear separation between the executive and the legislative powers which is a must in any republic ≠ as we have already noticed a clear distinction between the judiciary and the executive.
Secondly, the National Council would be exclusively East Timorese; will be much larger ≠ three times as large in terms of East Timorese representation than the current National Consultative Council.
Third it would have a power of initiative. So far the NCC received draft regulations presented by UNTAET. In future the National Council will continue to receive drafts submitted by the Cabinet but would also have the authority to initiate the drafting of regulations. In other words they would submit their own drafts to the executive for consideration. So it will be a much more dynamic; much more lively and much more independent interaction between the two.
Sonny Inbaraj Media Development Officer United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) Dili, HQ
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