The Timor-Leste Flag is raised at the official Restoration of Independence Day Commemoration in Dili. (Pic Ian Mannix UN)
Statement from the United Nations in Timor-Leste on the Restoration of Independence Day, 2019
The United Nations congratulates the people of Timor-Leste on reaching another wonderful milestone in democracy – the anniversary of nationhood which has inspired the world.
The Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Timor-Leste, Mr. Roy Trivedy has used the anniversary to remind everyone of the words of the late Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, who spoke at the hoisting of the new Timor-Leste flag for the first time, at two minutes to midnight on the 19th of May, 2002.
''With the new day comes a new beginning for East Timor. Your identity as an independent people will be recognized by the whole world.
''At this moment, we honour every citizen of East Timor who persisted in the struggle for independence. We also remember the many who are no longer with us –- but who dreamed of this moment. It is their day, too.
''I salute you –- people of East Timor -– for the courage and perseverance you have shown.
''That a small nation is able to inspire the world and be the focus of our attention is the highest tribute that I can pay to you.’’
Mr Trivedy asks all Timorese people to continue to show courage and perseverance on the path to sustained economic, social and environmental growth in a way which can continue to inspire the rest of the world.
''Timor-Leste will be on the stage this year in New York delivering a review of social and economic progress in the country,’’ Mr Trivedy said.
''You have much to be proud of, but Timor-Leste will not reach the goals it has set for itself without that determination which Mr. Annan spoke about.
Mr Annan, a great friend of the people of Timor-Leste, said at the time: ''I have no doubt that you will fulfil your new roles -- as citizens of East Timor and of the world -- with spirit and great success.
''I wish you a bright and secure future.’’
Mr. Trivedy said on the Restoration of Independence Day, 2019, that Timor-Leste has become more secure over the past 17 years. ''But I think the bright future that Mr Annan spoke is one where no person is hungry; everyone has a house and decent work; where women are respected and children nurtured, and the environment treasured for its gifts.’’
''There remains a way to go before those goals are reached but success will come if the spirit remains burning bright,’’ Mr Trivedy said.
''In this year as we review progress made in all areas of Timor-Leste, I encourage everyone to take stock of their commitment to development in this wonderful country; their attitude towards women, children and those who are most vulnerable.’’
In 2002 Mr Annan promised a lasting relationship with the people of Timor-Leste.
'' I am deeply proud of the partnership between the people of East Timor and the United Nations. Together, we have contributed to build strong foundations for a prosperous and democratic future,’’ ‘Mr Annan saidf in 2002.
Mr Trivedy said The United Nations in Timor-Leste remains steadfast in its determination to work in partnership towards reaching Timor-Leste’s goals.
And the “bright and secure future’’ that Mr Annan referred to.
Here is Mr Annan's speech in 2002. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KH9j7MIBlEw
‘’This will not be a long speech. It cannot be. For in just a few minutes, I must stop as we reach midnight on 19 May. With the start of 20 May, you will step into a new era in your history, as an independent nation. I am deeply honoured and moved to be with you at this moment.
Never before has the UN been asked to administer a territory on its way to Independence...we have carried out this noble mission with courage and imagination.
With the new day comes a new beginning for East Timor. Your identity as an independent people will be recognized by the whole world. I still recall the day, 45 years ago, when my own country Ghana attained its independence. Tonight, I am as excited as I was then.
At this moment, we honour every citizen of East Timor who persisted in the struggle for independence. We also remember the many who are no longer with us –- but who dreamed of this moment. It is their day, too.
I salute you –- people of East Timor -– for the courage and perseverance you have shown.
Yours has not been an easy path to independence. You should be very proud of your achievement. That a small nation is able to inspire the world and be the focus of our attention is the highest tribute that I can pay to you.
I am also deeply proud of the partnership between you –- the people of East Timor -– and us, the United Nations. Together, we have laid the foundations for a prosperous and democratic future.
Let me assure you that independence will not mean the end of the world's commitment to you. The United Nations will stay. Your friends around the world will continue to help. We will all work together to ensure that the first years of independence are years of stability and progress.
I have no doubt that you will fulfil your new roles -- as citizens of East Timor and of the world -- with spirit and great success.
I wish you a bright and secure future.