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Timor-Leste: Transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding – A Timorese perspective

Abstract Timor-Leste, which includes the enclave of Oe-Cusse Ambeno in the Western part of Timor Island, has an area of 14,919 square kilometers and is administratively divided into 13 districts and 67 sub-districts. The last census, concluded in 2010, determined that the total population was about 1, 114 534. Both Portuguese and Tétum are the official languages. In April 1974, the Portuguese empire crumbled and for Timor-Leste the time had come to gain independence. The withdrawal of the Portuguese military and government allowed for the full-scale invasion by the Indonesian Armed Forces on the 7th of December 1975 and the stage was set for a long and bloody war. In the first three years of warfare the structure of Fretilin was almost totally destroyed. Under the revitalised struggle led by Xanana Gusmão it was concluded that there was a need to adopt maximum flexibility through genuine guerrilla warfare. Two decades of growing unity and common purpose led to the vote of independence on 30 August 1999 and the subsequent total withdrawal of Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) from the territory on 1 November 1999, marking the end of 24-year war. After almost ten years of nationbuilding, the identification of national priorities…

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“Transitions” from Peacekeeping to Peacebuilding: Recent experiences in Timor-Leste

Abstract In this paper, representing the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, I share recent experiences from Timor-Leste where I serve as Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s Special Representative.Today’s topic, transitions, is a timely one. In its history of over more than 60 years, peacekeeping has gone through a series of surges and periods of consolidation. Following the most recent surge of new peacekeeping missions in the early 2000s, we expect the next few years to represent a period of consolidation and drawdown. Our mission in Chad will close at the end of December; in Timor-Leste and Liberia, transition planning is already underway, in others like Cote d’Ivoire, it is a little further on the horizon. In all transitions, we have to manage the departure of peacekeeping missions in a way that helps consolidate and build peace. The topic is also timely as UN Member States are in the midst of important policy debates in the Security Council as well as the 4th and 5th Committees of the General Assembly, on the interface between peacekeeping and peacebuilding, the role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Security Council, and on allocation of resources across multiple instruments like peacekeeping operations or special political missions,…

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