Statement by
H.E. Rezlan Ishar Jenie
Ambassador/Permanent Representative
of the Republic of Indonesia
on the Report of the United Nations Secretary General on
the UNMISET

New York, 28 February 2005

Mr. President,

As this is the last day of the presidency of the Republic of Benin in the Security Council, let me congratulate you for the very able stewardship that you have shown during this very busy period for the Security Council.

Before I continue, let me thank Mr. Sukehiro Hasegawa for his comprehensive briefing on the report of the Secretary General on the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNMISET). Given the current phase of the Mission, my delegation is of the view that the report is very significant for the Council to consider.

Mr. President,

Three months have elapsed since we last discussed this agenda item. Throughout the period under consideration, UNMISET has contributed significantly in the efforts to guide Timor Leste to reach the stage of self-reliance and self- sufficiency.

Nearly two years after UNMISET first started its work in Timor Leste, we are glad to observe that the core administrative structures critical to the viability and political stability of Timor Leste have been functioning well, as was originally envisioned by the Council. As the work of the mission begins to wind down, my delegation reiterates its consistent support for the mandate of the mission.

Mr. President,

As a country that shares history with Timor Leste, Indonesia regards the young nation as one of the priorities in its foreign policy. Furthermore, as we have always stated, that both nations decided to embrace forward-looking and reconciliatory policies in the interest of their people and development. This has been manifested in the increasingly strengthened bilateral relations and in the intensive meetings of the highest political officials of both countries.

Rigorous efforts have been made in the past three years to promote reconciliation between the two countries. This reconciliation, by the two governments and peoples, has reached a satisfactory level and shown significant results. The “Operation Solidarity” launched by President Xanana Gusmao, following the Tsunami on 26 December 2004 which hit Indonesian provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, and the strong solidarity shown by individual citizens from across Timor Leste through their donations for the victims of the this natural disaster in Indonesia also attest the tangible progress made in reconciliation between people and government of the two countries. We are deeply touched with this expression of solidarity and support of the people and government of Timor Leste. In addition, Indonesia has been helping reconciliation among East Timorese, among others by facilitating visits of leaders of Timor Leste to have dialogue with their compatriots in west Timor as well as facilitating family reunifications among East Timorese. However, in order to maintain and further promote bilateral relations, both countries have underscored the importance of resolving the existing residual issues, while deepening and expanding bilateral cooperation at the same time.

Indeed, President Yudhoyono and President Xanana Gusmao have met several times since the former’s installment as President of the Republic of Indonesia in October 2004. The meeting in Bali between leaders of the two countries on 14 December 2004 constituted a historic moment for our bilateral relations. The leaders reiterated their desire and determination to further enhance a stable, friendly and mutually beneficial relationship between their two countries. They also noted, with satisfaction, the steady and positive growth of their relations in the past three years, as reflected among others by the significant progress made in addressing residual issues such as land border delineation, refugees, traditional border crossing access and regulated market arrangement. Beyond politics and security, shared optimism was noted about economic relations which, during the period, have witnessed a steadily growing and mutually beneficial flow of trade and investment.

Mr. President,

Now, let me turn to the issue of Commission of Experts (COE), mentioned in the report of the Secretary General and was recently announced by the UN spokesman. With a view to addressing decisively the matters pertaining to the events of 1999, leaders of Indonesia and Timor Leste made an important decision by agreeing on the establishment of a Commission on Truth and Friendship (CTF) as an alternative to the Commission of Experts (COE). The CTF will provide additional unique avenue for both countries to jointly address the reported human rights violations that took place in the period leading up to and immediately after the popular consultation in 1999, with the focus being on revealing the truth and promoting friendship.

This agreement is unprecedented in history, whereby these two nations that were severely affected by the common experience of 1999 have agreed jointly to embark on finding out the truth about the allegations of human rights violations that occurred, and on the basis of which intra and inter-communal reconciliation among the peoples of the two countries will be further promoted. The agreement of the heads of the two governments has clearly reflected the maturity and the spirit to seek an acceptable solution to heal the wounds and unload the burden of the past in order to continue to foster bilateral relations and friendship among both peoples.

Different countries with their respective experiences have chosen different means in coming to term with their past. In some countries, their leaders and people might seek truth and reconciliation rather than prosecutorial process. Indonesia and Timor Leste opted to seek truth and promote friendship as a new and unique mechanism. True justice can be served with truth and acknowledgement of responsibility, while the prosecutorial process might only achieve justice but not necessarily establish truth nor promote reconciliation. Therefore, Indonesia and Timor Leste are determined to pursue the conclusion of the process in addressing the issue through the framework of CTF. CTF will open to the assistance of the international community based on joint request from both countries.

During this month, the Foreign Minister of Timor Leste, H.E. Ramos Horta, and the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, H.E. Hassan Wirajuda, met twice to finalize the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the CTF. As a result, we envision that the establishment of the CTF will be formally announced soon. That will enable both nations to embark on a path that will permit the closure of the burdens of the past. In this endeavor, it is the hope of the Indonesian government that the international community, and particularly the Security Council, would lend its support to this unique and unprecedented initiative.

On the question of the land boundary between the two nations, Mr. President, let me assure you that the Government of Indonesia is ready at any time to sign the Provisional Agreement on the Land Boundary. We are pleased to learn the indication of possible signing by both countries of this provisional agreement soon. The draft of this agreement has been discussed and agreed on by both countries in their bilateral meeting in June 2004. The agreement covers all the works that have been done by the joint technical team since 2001. As you are aware, there is a remarkable progress in the land boundary delineation process in which almost in about 95% of the border, both countries have agreed on the coordinate of the border points. Some of the lines connecting those points have been agreed on as the boundary lines, and some lines are considered as the approximate boundary lines.

The remaining tasks for the joint technical team, therefore, are the densification of the border points and the delineation survey in order to upgrade the approximate boundary lines into agreed boundary lines. Indonesia and Timor Leste also have to discuss the remaining three un-solved segments. Another important work that has to be accomplished is the demarcation of the boundary lines. The joint technical team will resume further surveys of border in June 2005 to register further progress.

An important fact that has to be taken into account on the border issue is that most of the Indonesian land border with Timor Leste is around or even at rivers. It is , therefore, imperative for the two countries to establish an arrangement for international river management, taking into account the traditions and customs of the people living in both sides of the river.

While looking forward to making further progress in land boundary demarcation, we are cautious about the target for the completion of the process within a certain time frame.

In this regard, Indonesia would like to stress that border management is a continuous cooperative endeavor that does not stop once the two sides have come to an agreement on the land boundaries. In addition, border management is also deemed necessary to better respond to possible incident of criminal acts along the border areas. The continued strengthening of cooperation between the Indonesian police and military and the border patrol units of Timor Leste in the border has resulted in notable improvement of security and stability not only in areas around the border, but also in Timor Leste in general. On the other hand, the continuous improvement of security in West Timor, which has been acknowledged by the Department of Security of the United Nations (previously known as UNSECOORD) through its decision to downgrade the security level to Phase 3 in the area in its entirety, with effect from 18 January 2005, is another positive factor to the improvement of security and stability in areas around the border. Indonesia is committed to enhancing security cooperation with Timor Leste, particularly in the field of border management. In this regard, the Joint Border Committee as subsidiary of the annual meeting of Foreign Ministers’ Joint Commission of Indonesia-Timor Leste remains an important mechanism in which two sides can, in a direct manner, discuss and enhance coordination in addressing issues relating to border demarcation and border management.

While land border demarcation is important, member States might also be interested to learn the development of the delimitation of Timor Leste’s maritime boundary. The issue of delimitation of maritime boundary is no less complicated which Timor Leste is experienced itself and to which the report is rather silent in referring to this issue including its time frame work despite of similarities on the nature of the issue.

Mr. President,

Now that the termination of the mandate of UNMISET is in view, it is also time to take a hard look at the need for Timor Leste to strengthen its national capacity building. In this regard, Indonesia understands that Timor-Leste, as reflected in the letter of its Prime Minister, H.E. Mari Alkatiri to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on 20 January 2005, seeks additional UN assistance for a further year, following the progress made so far by UNMISET.

My delegation is of the view that the overall achievement of UNMISET does not preclude the possibility that some continued assistance from the international community to Timor Leste is still needed. Given the particular need of Timor Leste to strengthen its capacity building in various sector of public administration as well as to maintain public order, additional UN assistance as requested by Timor Leste deserves positive consideration.

Thank you, Mr. President.