Permanent Mission to UN

Address By H.E. Ambassador Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz, Permanent Representative Of Cuba, At The Security Council Debate On Timor-Leste. New York, 15 August 2006.

Mr. President:

On behalf of the Cuban delegation allow me to commend you for the work you and your team have been carrying out in the Presidency of the Security Council during the month of August.

I likewise would like to commend the presence at this meeting of H.E. Mr. José Luis Guterres, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste, whose valuable address of today morning we appreciate.

Mr. President:

The current situation in Timor-Leste is the result of the structural underdevelopment that this Asian nation is suffering and is one of the most telling cases of the disastrous consequences of colonialism and the unjust and excluding current international order.

When it comes to the situation in Timor-Leste and other Third-World countries, attention within the United Nations is almost exclusively focused on the “security issues” and it is ignored or diminished, in practice, the urgent attention to the serious structural, economic and social problems afflicting them. The eradication of poverty and underdevelopment is an essential guarantee to keep peace and security at the international level. There cannot be peace without development or development without peace.

With respect to security issues, actions of the international community in Timor-Leste, as in any other country, should fully respect the sovereignty and independence of that State. The Government of Timor-Leste has clearly stated its position as for the format that the presence of international effectives in that country should have, under the mandate of the United Nations. Cuba considers that the wishes and interests expressed in this regard by the Government and people of Timor-Leste should be accordingly taken into account by the Security Council.

Mr. President:

The challenges that the people and Government of Timor-Leste has ahead in the next few years demand huge resources that are far beyond the capacities of a State with limited resources.

Genuine international cooperation with this country, based on respect of its sovereignty, is one of the main ways for conflict prevention and peace consolidation. The international community has the moral obligation to assist Timor-Leste in the construction of a future of political stability and sustainable socioeconomic development. It also has to assume a serious commitment to assist its government in training human resources and creating the infrastructures that so urgently this Asian country needs.

Mr. President:

Cuba – a small country subject for more than 45 years to the most brutal and merciless economic, financial and commercial blockade a nation has ever suffered – has kept its modest cooperation with Timor-Leste.

The Cuban cooperation with this country is carried out in different fields, primarily in healthcare. The Cuban medical cooperation has provided treatment to 440 849 patients, 3 620 births, 2 198 surgical operations, 7 496 vaccinated persons and over 6 000 saved lives.

Despite the situation that this country has undergone, the Cuban cooperators, rigorously attached to the principle of not meddling in Timor-Leste’s internal affairs, have remained in their posts. Particularly the Cuban medical brigade, made up by 274 health cooperators, 206 of them medical doctors, has been an example of selfless cooperation, saving lives under the hardest conditions. They, aside from providing basic and specialized health services, teach in and direct the recently opened school of medicine, which started its classes in December 2005 with 60 students. Moreover, 40 clinical laboratory technicians are finishing their studies and 22 X-Ray technicians are currently training.

As a complement of this effort, 470 youth from Timor-Leste are studying in Cuba, most of them preparing to begin their medical studies in our country and others to enroll in other specialties.

Mr. President:

We are not trying to give a lecture here. What Cuba is doing today for Timor-Leste is just a modest example of how much could be achieved in that country with international cooperation and solidarity, mainly by those States with larger economic and financial resources.

We are certain that also within the United Nations more could be done for Timor-Leste. We hope that this Security Council debate contributes to set up immediate strategies in accordance with the real needs of the people of Timor-Leste.

Finally, my delegation reiterates that the people of Timor-Leste can always count on Cuba’s unswerving determination to continue strengthening its assistance and solidarity. With it, we are fulfilling a duty and honoring our debt of gratitude with the peoples of the Third World, this time with Timor-Leste, which has always demonstrated its steadfast and constant friendship and solidarity towards my country.

Thank you very much.

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