SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON THE SITUATION WITH REGARD TO
THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECLARATION ON THE GRANTING OF INDEPENDENCE TO COLONIAL
COUNTRIES AND PEOPLES
Statement by H. E. Ambassador Celso Amorim Permanent Representative of Brazil to the
United Nations on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP)
Question of East Timor
(check against delivery)
New York, 2 July 1998
I take the floor on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP),
which is formed by Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tomé
and Principe, as well as Brazil, which currently holds its Presidency.
2. I wish to start by referring to the adoption of the Final Declaration of the Council
of Ministers of the CPLP, held in Salvador - the capital of the State of Bahia - in
Brazil, on the 18th of July 1997, which has been circulated as document A/51/954.
Paragraph 8 of that Ministerial Declaration, which welcomed the awarding of the Nobel
Peace Prize to Bishop Ximenes Belo and Mr. Ramos Horta, reaffirmed the support of the CPLP
countries for the self-determination of the timorese people and defended an
internationally acceptable solution to the question of East Timor, in full respect for the
legitimate rights and aspirations of its population and in conformity with international
3. Nearly one year after this Declaration was adopted, the prospects for a solution to
the timorese question can be said to have undergone a considerable qualitative change. We
were particularly encouraged by the news that President Habibie of Indonesia signed a
decree for the release of fifteen East Timorese political prisoners as well as by the
greater internal discussion on this matter.
4. We welcome the intention expressed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on June the 10th
to remain actively engaged in the search for an early settlement of the Timor problem.
Only one week before that, the SecretaryGeneral had addressed a letter to President
Habibie assuring him of his commitment to work with his Government and with the Government
of Portugal in the effort to find, as early as possible, a just, comprehensive and
internationally acceptable solution.
5. Recently President Fernando Henrique Cardoso sent a message to President Habibie of
Indonesia acknowledging the important steps he has taken to reduce tensions in his
country, and expressing confidence in the positive impact such measures can have on the
Timor issue. On the same occasion President Cardoso supported the resumption of
negotiations between Portugal and Indonesia under the auspices of the Secretary-General,
while manifesting keen interest in the fate of a people to whom we remain linked by strong
6. During our discussions today, we wish to continue placing emphasis on the new
opportunities for peace and understanding which have come into being in recent weeks. We
are aware of the many hurdles that must still be overcome and will remain attentive
regarding aspects such as the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in East
Timor. The liberation of additional political prisoners, in particular, will continue to
be eagerly awaited. At the same time we cannot fail to deplore repressive acts which have
tarnished the positive trend of the past few weeks.
7. The Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries hereby reaffirms its commitment to
the full exercise of the right to self determination in East Timor. As conditions improve
for a fruitful dialogue - which must necessarily involve representatives of the people of
East Timor - the CPLP will be ready to contribute, as appropriate, in the furthering of
the aforementioned objectives.
Thank You Mr. Chairman
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