Thursday, 14 October 2010

FRETILIN: Timor-Leste not ready to have Asylum Seeker Centre on its shores

In a meeting held in Dili on 12 October 2010, at FRETILIN headquarters, between a FRETILIN delegation headed by party Secretary General and former Prime Minister of the RDTL Dr Mari Alkatiri and the Australian delegation headed by His Excellency The Honorable Immigration Minister Chris Bowen, on the issue of a proposal by the Australian government to establish an asylum seeker processing centre in Timor-Leste was discussed. Alkatiri rulled out some of his party’s position po to the Australian delegation as to why Timor-Leste does not have the conditions to accept the Australian government’s proposal of an asylum seeker processing centre.
“The Asylum Seeker Processing Centre is an issue of a regional and international character and should not be the focus of bilateral discussions,” alkatiri said
He continues, “Citizens from around the world flock to the region in which Australia and Timor-Leste exist for social, economic and political reasons. They search for an “oasis”, and that is Australia. It makes no sense to bilaterally frustrate the dreams of these world citizens to seek a better life for them and their kin. The Timorese state is conscious of its obligations under international law, but, institutionally, Timor-Leste does not have the conditions to accommodate them.”
“Timor-Leste still has numerous very serious issues to resolve, including the following three: the question of land and property rights; the issue of security and the administration of justice; chronic poverty for much of its people, in all forms. An asylum seeker processing centre set up amongst such inadequate conditions will generate conflicts with unforeseen consequences.”
“The unanimous rejection by the National Parliament of the Australian government’s proposal to establish such a centre must be respected by the Timor-Leste government.”
Dr Alkatiri reiterated in the meantime that Timor-Leste remains committed to complying with its regional and international obligations.
The Fretilin Party received the visit in their headquarter in Dili. Allow me to welcome you on behalf of the many thousands of FRETILIN members and supporters to this free and independent country of ours.
We have made lots of sacrifices to free our country from foreign oppression. There will be lots of challenges ahead but we are consolidating our Nation and building a Democratic state under the Rule of Law.
We would like to use this opportunity to thank the People and Government of Australia for the help that you have been giving to us, since 1999 until nowadays, in our titanic effort of rebuilding our country and reaffirming democracy in our sub-region.
I would like to thank your Excellency for including in your agenda a meeting with me and FRETILIN, a historic party, a Party of our National Liberation and the largest political party in Timor-Leste.
We would therefore like to warmly welcome your Delegation at the FRETILIN headquarters.
As two neighboring countries, we have been learning to inter-relate and to cohabit in our sub-regional space and our relationship has been deepening, day after day. We have always been looking for ways to solve our matters through dialogue, talks and negotiations. Even for matters that apparently had put us in irreconcilable positions at first, we have managed together to overcome them for the sake of both countries.
On everything that we have managed to resolve many issues between us, and there has been a common effort to implement these decisions we have reached together. It would be an illusion to pretend that we can always find solutions and agreements for all differences that we may have between each other. However, we have also been able to agree on what our disagreements are. Each of us has, therefore, been able to express our mutual respect for the sovereign decisions of each country - Australia and Timor-Leste.
Therefore, I believe that, whatever the outcome from the discussion of the subject of today’s meeting, we will continue to open our doors to dialogue, in order to reinforce our relationship and share our commitment for our regional and international obligations.
I very much believe that Australia will always understand our position and will assume that our eventual disagreements will be matters to be dealt with more conviction and care.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great!!! you showed how great stateman you are Mr. Alkatiri. Respect for you.