Subject: UN: Strengthened "Timorization" paves way to viable independence

UN Department of Public Information (DPI) Date: 29 Mar 2001

East Timor: strengthened "Timorization" paves way to viable independence, UN mission chief says

The head of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) today stressed the need to speed up the political and administrative handover of power in the territory, to ensure the viability and strength of the country once full independence is reached.

"We need to strengthen our efforts in Timorization and keep capacity building at the very heart of all our work," Sergio Vieira de Mello said at a meeting sponsored by UNTAET and the World Bank on the transition of authority. "A strong independent East Timor has to be based on a transparent and efficient administration and must also be the outcome of an electoral process conducted - as I believe it will - in a multi-party, tolerant and non-violent manner."

The participants at the all-day meeting discussed progress made in reaching political and socio-economic goals and in ensuring that the right institutional environment is in place to foster East Timor's transition. The benchmarks under review were endorsed at a donors meeting in December 2000 in Brussels, where participants stressed the importance of integrating political, administrative and socio-economic plans on the road to independence.

According to the participants, progress has been made in most of the core government sectors, but more attention should be given to recruitment, intensified capacity building and fiscal sustainability. Some participants also raised concerns over the relation between the political calendar and the administrative handover, noting the need to ensure smooth operation of government services during the political transition.

"It is my sincere belief that the support of the international community must, above all, focus on the needs of the people and taking into account the acute necessity to safeguard an environment of political tolerance in an atmosphere of tranquillity," stressed Xanana Gusmão, the President of the CNRT (National Council of Timorese Resistance).

Today's conference - which marks the mid-point between the Brussels meeting and an upcoming donors meeting in Canberra in June - gathered East Timor Transitional Administration Cabinet Members as well as representatives from the National Council, non-governmental organizations and UN agencies.

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