Prime Minister Ramos-Horta calls for UN assistance to East Timor to continue until 2011

11 July 2006

Dili, East Timor, 11 July – United Nations assistance in East Timor should continue until at least 2011, the country’s new Prime Minister José Ramos-Horta said Monday.

Ramos-Horta, who was speaking at the end of his inauguration ceremony Monday, said that as yet their was no agreement within the UN Security Council on sending “blue helmets,” but added that there was a need for an international policing force and civil advisors for public administration and official institutions, “to stay for at least another five years.”

The format and make up of a future UN mission is expected to be set by August 20 and should take into account the report due to be drawn up by Ian Martin, the UN’s special envoy to East Timor who visited the country for the two weeks ending Monday.

The prime minister added that international forces currently posted in East Timor, sent by Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal, could be part of the UN force.

As well as consolidating security in the capital, to allow for a resurgence of the economy, Ramos-Horta highlighted that the ratification of the agreement reached with Australia for joint oil exploration in the Timor Sea, particularly in the are known as “Greater Sunrise” was also one of his government’s priorities.

Another issue needing to be quickly dealt with by the new government is the approval of the State Budget to be presented in parliament.

Ramos-Horta said that immediately following his government’s taking office, Wednesday, the proposed Budget law would be analyzed.

The prime minister confirmed that the previous figure for the state budget, of US$315 million – presented in parliament by the government of his predecessor, Mari Alkatiri – would serve as a reference point for the proposal to be submitted to members of parliament.

Ramos-Horta was made prime minister of East Timor Monday following Mari Alkatiri having stepped down last month due to an ongoing political and military crisis. (macauhub)