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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 and successful implementation of strategies to move ahead, constitute a trademark of Timorese governance.

Ágio Pereira

From 1999–2001 Agio Pereira was member of National Political Commission of CNRT (National Council of Timorese Resistance). From 1991–1999 he was executive Director of ETRA Inc. East Timor Relief Association Incorporated), an Australian-based international humanitarian organisation supporting the independence of East Timor, providing humanitarian aid to the Timorese inside East Timor and in Indonesia fighting for independence. From 1999–2000 he was head of National Emergency Commission, a body established to respond to the emergency situation in East Timor caused by militia violence after the result of the Popular Consultation was announced by the United Nations on 4th September 1999. From 2000–2001 he was member of the National (Legislative) Council, the body established by the United Nations to phase out UNTAET according to the Security Council mandate. He was elected Deputy Speaker and also President of the Standing Committee on Budget and Finance and Vice-President of the Standing Committee of Political Affairs. From 2002 2007 he was Chief-of-Staff of the President of the Republic of Timor-Leste, Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão. From 2007–Present he has been Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers; also responsible for Mass Communication and Parliamentary Affairs. He trained in Environmental Biology and holds a Master Degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

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