Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Swearing in ceremony for three senior staff

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa, has presided over a swearing in ceremony for three senior Ministry staff who were recently promoted.

Dr Isilio Coelho, National Director for the External Affairs

Dr Isilio Coelho was sworn in as National Director for the External Affairs. Dr Coelho has worked for the Ministry since 2001, holding a number of senior posts at home and in Timor-Leste’s Embassy in Portugal and the Vatican, and most recently worked as Director of the Bilateral Division. He replaces Dr Constancio Pinto, who is now in Washington as the Ambassador for Timor-Leste to the United States

Dr. Lisualdo Gaspar, Director for Commission and Planning Division.

Dr Lisualdo Gaspar was sworn in as Director for Commission and Planning Division. Before being appointed to this position, Dr Gaspar was a senior diplomat in The Timor-Leste Embassy in Canberra.

Dr Abel Guterres Director for the Bilateral Division

Dr Abel Guterres was sworn in as Director for the Bilateral Division, replacing Dr Isilio Coelho.
Dr Guterres was Timor-Leste’s first Consul-General in Sydney, Australia, a post he took up in 2004. .END

First Timorese workers arrive in South Korea

Ambassador Carrascalao and Counsellor Natercia Coelho welcome the workers

The first Timorese workers have arrived in Seoul to start work under a bilateral agreement between Timor-Leste and South Korea.

They arrived in two groups..The first group arrived on the 6 of October and the second on the 20 of October. They were joined on the trip by a senior staff of the Secretary of State for Vocational Training and Employment (SEFOPE).

The workers were welcome at Seoul by Timor-Leste’s Ambassador, Mr Joao Carrascalao, Counselor of the Embassy, Ms. Natercia Coelho, and officials from the Korean Ministry for Labor.

Welcoming the workers, Ambassador Carrascalao told that the success of the program depended on their commitment, attitude and behavior, and the way they honoured the terms of their contracts as employees.

Ambassador Carrascalao urged them to take every opportunity to learn techniques and methods they could take home to help develop in Timor-Leste.

Ambassador Joao Carrascalao with Timorese Workers

Mr. Carrascalao told them that while living and working in South Korea they were subject to Korean law and customs, but they could rely on the embassy in Seoul to provide them with full support and to protect their rights and interests.

He said both President Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao were keen to see the program succeed and would be taking a personal interest in the progress of the first two groups.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Model UN simulates historical 1999 session of the Security Council on Timor-Leste

The delegates

Dili 24 October 2009 – Today a celebration of United Nations Day a Model UN conference was held in Dili, Timor-Leste. The Model UN re-created the historic Security Council session of October 1999 which took place during the security crisis which followed the historic UN-organised Popular Consultation, and which led to the formation of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

Hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and supported by UNMIT, 34 students from the Peace Centre at the University of Timor-Leste (UNTL) took part in the Model UN conference.

"The Model UN has been hard work, but we have learned a huge amount about the UN Security Council and about international relations," said Elsa Araujo Pinto, one of the student trainers. "As official Secretary of the Security Council session I took notes of everything the delegates said during the meeting and passed them to the President to help with making decisions,” she said on her role during the Model UN.
The delegates

Lucio Jesus Savio’s role was as the delegate for Russia, which held the Presidency of the Security Council in 1999. “I was chairing the model UN session. As President, I needed to show leadership in the debate to pass the Resolution."

Students prepared for the Model UN for two months, with training sessions conducted by eight professional Timorese staff of UNMIT. Working in pairs, students took the role of delegations of each of the 15 Members States represented in the Security Council in October 1999, and presented their perspectives and positions on the situation in Timor-Leste at that historic moment.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Zacarias Albano de Costa , delivering his speech

“Timor-Leste has a very special relationship with the United Nations. I think that it is important for the younger generation to have knowledge of our history and to learn from the past. This Model UN is an excellent opportunity to learn about how the United Nations carries out its work and how it reacted to the dramatic events of 1999 which are still in our memories,” said Zacarias Albano da Costa, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

“UNMIT and the whole United Nations family in Timor-Leste have been happy to support the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its initiative to conduct this first Model UN,” said , Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste.

Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste Finn Reske-Nielsen

“ I congratulate the Ministry, and especially Minister da Costa, for the vision to foster young people’s understanding of international institutions and how they work, and especially about how they can effectively benefit those in need.”

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Ambassador of Switzerland last visit to Timor-Leste

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr.Zacarias A. da Costa with
Ambassador Bernardino Regazzoni

H.E. Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa Minister of Foreign Affairs met today with H. E. Bernardino Regazzoni, Ambassador of Switzerland to Timor-Leste on his last and farewell visit to Dili.

H.E. Minister Zacarias welcomed and thanked Ambassador Regazzoni and the Government of Switzerland for its continued humanitarian support to Timor-Leste.

Among the items of discussions were the social, economic and security development in Timor-Leste especially with regard to CTF and CAVR plus Timor-Leste’s membership to ASEAN.

On the bilateral relations H. E. Bernardino Regazzoni said that Switzerland is looking forward to H.E. President Ramos-Horta’s visit next year .

Deputy Foreign Minister of Czech Republic visits Timor-Leste

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa and
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Mr. Hyneck Komonicek

H.E. Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa Minister of Foreign Affairs met today with H.E. Mr. Hyneck Komonicek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic accompanied by H.E. Mr. Pavel Rezac Ambassador of the Czech Republic to RDTL and Mr. Martin Kubecek Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Czech Republic in Jakarta.

The objective of this visit was to further strengthen the present relations and explore future bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

H.E. Dr Zacarias welcomed and thanked Mr. Komonicek and his delegation for the visit.
Among the items of discussions were: Czech invention mobile water purification system which Mr. Komonicek has promised H.E. President Ramos-Horta to be the first user of the technology in Timor-Leste.

Ultra light aircrafts and navigation lighting system plus small hydro technology for electricity generation for villages were also discussed during the meeting .

Minister Zacarias was very interested in the technology and will defer that to the appropriate Ministries to explore the possibilities.

Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa Minister of Foreign Affairs with
Mr. Hyneck Komonicek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
during the meeting

Mr. Komonicek also offered Timor-Leste places for diplomatic training at the Czech Republic Diplomatic School in Prague.

A Memorandum of Understanding will be established and signed during a visit to Czech Republic by H.E. Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa in 2010 in Prague.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Zacarias da Costa's official visit to Singapore

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa with
the President of Singapore Dr. Seelapan Rama Nathan

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa, has had wide-ranging discussions with the President, Prime Minister, and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore during his official visit there, Sunday-Tuesday, 12-13 October.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa with

Prime Minister, Dr.Lee Ksien Loong

On Monday the 12th, Minister Zacarias Da Costa has had meetings with the President of Singapore, Seelapan Rama Nathan, the Prime Minister, Lee Ksien Loong, and the Speaker of the National Parliament, Abudallah Tarmugi and the Senior Minister of State, Dr Balaji Sadasivan

“The meetings were very positive,” said Minister Zacarias.

“We discussed about Timor-Leste’s bid to gain membership of ASEAN, the stable situation in Timor-Leste, investment and commerce between our two countries and the continuing support Timor-Leste is receiving from Singapore, ranging from training public servants and diplomats to providing technical assistance in many areas.

“Both the President and the Prime Minister assured me of Singapore’s continuing support in needed fields.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa with

Speaker of the National Parliament Dr. Abudallah Tarmugi

On Tuesday the 13th, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Zacarias da Costa met with his counterpart Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore Dr. George Yeo .

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Timor-Lste Zacarias da Costa and
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore Dr.
George Yeo

Both Ministers discussed bilateral relations and reaffirmed the excellent cooperation between the two countries. In addition, Minister da Costa briefed Minister Yeo on the political and economic situation in Timor-Leste, and expressed Timor-Leste's appreciation for Singapore's contributions towards the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT).

After the meeting, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore Dr.George Yeo hosted lunch in honor of the Timor-Leste Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa.

Minister da Costa and his delegation also have visited the Marina Barrage Project, an innovation which transformed a tidal swamp area into a major fresh water storage and recreational lake in the middle of Singapore, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority. END

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste Dr. Zacarias Albano da Costa’s speech in the 64th session of United Nations General Assembly

Minister for Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste
Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa

28 of September 2009

Mr. President,


Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me start by expressing my sincere congratulations on your assumption of the Presidency of the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly.

The year 2009 marks important milestones for Timor-Leste. Ten years ago. the UN sponsored the Popular Consultation held in my country, marking the transition to full independence. Seven years ago, we attained full sovereignty with the restoration of our independence and began, for the first time in the history of our nation, the challenging process of nation-building.

We have been assisted by successive UN missions, which began by exercising also, for the first time in the history of the United Nations, full administrative powers in Timor-Leste.

This process has been undertaken for a very limited number of times in this new millennium. Naturally, failures and successes in decisions taken and policies adopted are always present and form part of our collective challenge on the nation building road, and this is true for both established and newly established states.

Timor-Leste has been showcased both as a success story of the United Nations and has been hastily characterized by some as a failed state.

I stand here before you, not to argue on behalf of one view or another, much less to duel on the past. I am here to describe to you what is Timor-Leste today, what we have been able to do, our modest achievements and remaining challenges , but most importantly, how we as a new and small nation-state, situate ourselves in the community of nations.

We also want to be part of the solutions to the unprecedented challenges facing human kind in this new millennium. Today we talk about global problems, that need global and concerted collective responsibility, and Timor-Leste is ready to assume part of that responsibility.

Let me stress however, that I am also able to be here today because it was through the United Nations, that a solution was found for what was then tabled as the "question of East Timor" and it was the United Nations that shouldered the responsibility of finding a just solution to that question and was indeed able to do so with success.

The decision to engage with the United Nations was a wise one, taken by the then leaders of the resistance, who are today our elder statesmen, our esteemed President of the Republic. H.E. Jose Ramos­Horta and the Prime Minister, H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao.

The underlining policy to resolve conflict through peaceful means and defer to the United Nations Charter to enable the exercise of the universal right to self determination is a fundamental principle embraced by the new generation of Timorese leaders. The engagement with the United Nations continues to be the policy of Timor-Leste today.

Timor-Leste has benefited greatly from this engagement, through the dedicated work of successive UN missions and through the presence and work of the various United Nations Agencies, Funds and Programs. The UN's administrative role in Timor-Leste under the capable leadership of our dear friend. the late Sergio Vieira de Mello was without precedence. Could the UN have done things differently in those earlier and subsequent years and how can we best use this partnership to move forward?

With hindsight, without a doubt, and this can perhaps be the most invaluable contribution of Timor-Leste to lessons learned and how to apply those lessons for the future in our country, for the United Nations on Peace Keeping and Peace Building. One of the most important lessons is that it takes time to build national capacities and sustainable institutions.

Young nations like ours, have to weigh up and balance many priorities. From pressing socio-economic requirements. including provision of basic social services, to building the institutions of state and develop capacities. We have to balance justice with peace and reconciliation. This involves prioritizing many urgent demands and sequencing actions. There is no quick fix and short term solutions.

Timor-Leste has been the subject of numerous evaluations and studies including that of the UN's work, up to a staggering three thousand, I believe. In terms of our contribution to the lessons learned for the UN, I have proposed that Timor-Leste should itself conduct an evaluation of all that has been done in the country by the international community, with a view to informing a country based perspective, as the recipient of what has been done, and how the benefits of these actions, or otherwise, have been experienced and felt in the country by the Timorese themselves.

The UN's current mission in Timor-Leste, UNMIT, is testament to the need for a longer term engagement by the UN. The crisis of 2006 in Timor-Leste was an unfortunate reminder of the fragility of peace when the institutions of state are still weak and the capacities still need to be strengthened, and we can't meet all of the competing socio, economic and political needs.

The cost of resolving a regress to violence in 2006 has been high for the international community, including the UN, our development partners, as well as the Timorese government itself. UNMIT's mandate to help reconstruct our security forces and provide support for our justice system is central and is still needed for ensuring long term peace and stability in our country.

The government of Timor-Leste has continued to make significant achievements, although we still face challenges. Some of the main problems from the 2006 crisis have been resolved. The IDPs have been peacefully reintegrated into their communities, the security forces are being reconstituted, although they still require capacity building and strengthening, and gang violence has been stopped. Our institutions of state are fully functioning and our government can now increase its concentration on development.

Mr. President,

I wish to emphasize the importance that we continue to place on relations with Indonesia, where we have taken a pragmatic approach and base our relations on reconciliation and the principle of looking forward. We cannot deny, or undo, what has happened in our common past, but we are determined to reconcile that past, because we know we can progress and do much for the future.

I am part of the new generation of leaders in Timor-Leste, and we and I personally, have not been spared the grief and loss experienced by most of Timor-Leste's population. But I know that my responsibility is to prevent what happened in Timor-Leste in the past, from ever, happening again.

Timor-Leste and Indonesia are both countries in transition and we should be allowed "to search for our own path" as President Obama has said in his own speech, conscious that "our path, may not be perfect".

This is a complex process that requires a Timorese solution. I am sure that other countries that have been in conflict, would appreciate long term support from the international community to tackle the same problems that we are facing.

Timor-Leste has not. by any means, turned its back on justice. Our Constitution enshrines the rule of law in our country and the government's policy is to fully strengthen the justice system. We are being aided in this by the international community and fully realize that we will continue to need the assistance of the international community in the years to come.

Our government has been severely criticized both internationally and nationally, on the position we have adopted and some decisions that have been taken. However, these decisions have been taken with the conviction that we need to reconcile with our past and ensure peace for our current and future generations, and we stand by these decisions.

Mr. President,

Timor-Leste today has its own set of challenges which may appear removed from emerging challenges facing human kind and placed before this forum. Timor-Leste continues to be concerned with alleviating and reducing poverty, as well as high unemployment, addressing the needs of the rural populations. establishing and consolidating the institutions of state, so that they can better respond to the needs of all of our people. But it does not mean that Timor-Leste has its head hidden in the sand. and is not aware of other challenges. It will require time for our young Nation to address and overcome all of these challenges.

As part of the community of nations and human kind, Timor-Leste is also concerned by all that threatens life on this planet and is moved to comment. In effect, Timor-Leste has expressed its position on a number of important issues as a member of the United Nations including in the General Assembly. and wishes to reiterate its opposition to the economic sanctions imposed against Cuba by the United States and we reaffirm our support for the General Assembly resolutions of the past 17 years. for the US to lift these sanctions.

It is not Timor-Leste's intention to develop nuclear capacity or become a nuclear power, and therefore we have ratified the non-proliferation treaty and we council caution in the development of and use of nuclear capacity.

With reference to climate change, although an island state, Timor-Leste is fortunate not to be immediately threatened by rising sea waters, nor is it responsible for large carbon emissions. But it is affected by changing weather patterns and is following the climate change debate. At the national level, we are naturally concerned with preservation of our environment and place importance in reforestation and protection of the environment.

With regards to the financial economic crisis Timor-Leste has been fortunate to have experienced only partial impact. However, we are also concerned with the causes of the crisis and looking to learn the lessons to avoid, in building our financial systems and institutions. In this light we support the outcomes of the recent meeting of the G20 in Pittsburg to take preventive measures for the future.

To conclude, Mr. President,

Allow me to express gratitude, on behalf of my government, to the United Nations and our international partners for your continued support to Timor-Leste. We stand resolutely with you in contributing to solutions to our collective challenges and are resolved to solving our own national challenges.

I thank you.

Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Australia, Foreign Ministers met in New York to discuss security and development

The Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste, Australia and Indonesia held a Trilateral meeting, in New York, to discuss maritime security issues, development assistance and other political and diplomatic issues of mutual concern at the regional and international level.

This is the third time in the last two years that Timor-Leste Foreign Minister Zacarias Albano da Costa held a Trilateral Meeting with his counterparts from Australia Stephen Smith, and Indonesia Hassan Wirajuda.

Trilateral meetings have been organized for six years now, between the three countries at the Foreign Ministerial level hosted alternately by each country. This year's meeting, at the margin of the 63rd Session of the General Assembly, was hosted by Australia.

“I’m very happy with the outcome of the meeting . Both my counterparts , Minister Steven Smith and Minister Wirajuda expressed their satisfaction with positive development we are witnessing in Timor-Leste in all areas. It was a very positive meeting. I am very happy again to be part of such an important event, where we can discuss openly main issues of common interest, share our concerns and try to address important matters for our countries such as security and peace in the region”, Minister Zacarias Albano da Costa said at the end of the meeting.

Main issues discussed during the meeting covered areas such as security cooperation, illegal fishing and joint coast guard patrol, people smuggling, food security and capacity building and development assistance.

Minister Da Costa said that “Indonesia has fully committed to continue to work together with Timor-Leste Government in many areas including training of PNTL (Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste), capacity building in many areas for Senior officials, technical cooperation in education as well as diplomacy training programs. Australia has pledged to continue with its current support in all areas of cooperation with Timor-Leste”.

He also added “We have also discussed illegal fishing activities which have taken place in Timor-Leste’s south coast area. Last year alone we’ve lost around 38 million of dollars in illegal fishing in our shores. We do not have yet the capacity to deal with this problem alone, so both Australia and Indonesia have agreed to assist us and jointly find a regional mechanism to curb this illegal activities in our waters”.

On a maritime assistance package proposed by the Australians, both Minister Da Costa and Minister Wirajuda referred to the next meeting, to be hosted by Timor-Leste Foreign Minister. END

Timor-Leste and Vietnam agreed to establish Joint Bilateral Cooperation Commission

Timor-Leste's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa and the
Foreign Ministers of the S.R. of Vietnam Mr. Pham Gia Khiem

Hanoi, Vietnam, September 15 - The Foreign Ministers of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste have agreed to establish Joint Bilateral Cooperation Commission during the official visit of the Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste, Dr. Zacarias Albano da Costa.

In the meeting both leaders agreed to start with the negotiations on the framework agreement for the technical and economical cooperation and the negotiation on the agreement for the reciprocal promotion and protection of investment, and also discussed the possibility to establish two plus one (trilateral) cooperation and to create condition for people to people cooperation.

H.E Dr. da Costa highlighted the importance of the visit as it constitutes the starting point of the overall cooperation between the two countries in the relevant areas of the mutual interest.
Potential areas of bilateral cooperation highlighted by both leaders consist off: Agricultural and fishery development, Rural development, Education, Infrastructure, Health ,Oil and Gas sector, Trade and Commerce.

Dr da Costa further said that “ the similarities in the history of both countries will contribute to facilitate the understanding and cooperation between both countries for the national development.”

During this bilateral talk, H.E. the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam Mr. Pham Gia Khiem reassured the commitment of his government to support the accession of Timor-Leste to ASEAN.

Both leaders made a summary of the socio-political and economical situation in each country, and briefly touched on the current agendas of regional and international issues.

At the margin of this bilateral meeting Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa paid a courtesy call on H.E. the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Mr Nguyen Minh Triet, Minister for Planning and investment Dr Hoan Van Thu, Deputy Minister for the Agriculture and Fishery Dr Bui Ba Bong.

Minister Zacarias da Costa with President Mr Nguyen Minh Triet

During that courtesy call the President of Vietnam extended the official invitation to the President of Timor-Leste to pay a visit to Vietnam by next year, during the celebration of one thousand years of the establishment of Vietnam and the Vietnam’s chairmanship of ASEA. The ministers also conveyed their invitation to their Timorese counterparts to visit Vietnam.

The talks between Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Phan Gia Khiem and his counterpart Dr Zacarias Albano da Costa were held today, at the Presidential Guest House, in Hanoi. END