KARLITO NUNES, delivering a statement on behalf of Francisco Guterres Lú‑Olo, President of Timor-Leste, said international cooperation must address the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic on vulnerable States, especially least developed countries, small island developing States and landlocked developing countries, and those in conflict and emerging from conflict. Timor-Leste has recorded more than 19,000 cases with 18,000 having fully recovered and 113 deaths. Calling the vaccine a public good that needs to be accessible to everyone, he urged the international community to assist low-income countries who only vaccinate 1.1 per cent of their populations. He thanked international partners whose assistance has allowed the country to administer more than 600,000 doses, thus vaccinating 30 per cent of the population.
As a country experiencing floods, landslides and droughts, Timor-Leste prioritizes climate change and is committed to taking measures, including correction of watercourse beds and reducing plastic waste, he said. The Government has further launched the national reforestation campaign “A citizen, a tree”, as reforestation ensures greater rainfall and a cleaner environment. He said Timor-Leste is considered a success story of the United Nations engagement in realizing the principle of the right of self-determination. The country undertook a reconciliation process with Indonesia, following its invasion and occupation, illustrating the importance of reconciliation in restoring good relations, despite past pain and tragedy. Timor-Leste has led by example, he noted, with its first-time use of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Compulsory Conciliation Committee to resolve its maritime boundary dispute with Australia.
Underscoring that unilateral coercive measures contravene the values and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, he called for lifting the longstanding embargo imposed on Cuba. Turning to Myanmar, he welcomed the regional mechanism to address the challenges there and the five-points consensus adopted by ASEAN. On Afghanistan, he called for respect for women’s rights and the rights of Afghan people and foreigners who wish to leave the country. Noting Portuguese is spoken by 280 million people worldwide, he suggested it could also be considered as an official United Nations language.
He urged the United Nations to commit to the work of the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples to decolonizing the world’s remaining 17 non-self-governing Territories. Noting that the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) has been operating in the region for three decades with little satisfactory progress, he called for the Special Envoy to urgently reactivate the negotiation process between the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front) and Morocco, and to allow the people of Western Sahara to exercise their right to self-determination.
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