The Council is considering a visit to Timor-Leste at the end of November. Japan, as the lead country on Timor-Leste, has pushed for this visit. The number of Council members going on the mission was uncertain at press time. While no members have objected to the visit, it appears that a number of countries will not be represented at ambassador level and some members may decide not to participate at all. A decision also had not been made on whether the Council delegation should confine the visit to Dili or consider a field trip outside the capital. The last Council visit to Timor-Leste was in November 2007.
Japan will lead the mission. It has argued that it is time to review the UN Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) prior to mandate renewal on 26 February 2011. Japan appears keen to have the visit take place before it leaves the Council at the end of 2010. It may also want to discuss the format of the UN presence post-UNMIT, but others feel that this would be premature.
Based on the views expressed in the 19 October debate other Council members are likely to be interested in exchanging views with the Timorese authorites on the security situation, the resumption of Timorese responsibility in the final three districts and justice and accountability issues. A number of members, including the US, the UK and Austria, seem to be looking forward to an exchange on justice and impunity.
The Council was briefed on 19 October by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Timor-Leste, Ameerah Haq. She noted that progress had been made but that the focus now needed to be on longer-term challenges, such as systemic, institutional and political fragilities. Members of the Core Group on Timor-Leste, including Portugal (which will be on the Council next year), also participated in the debate.
Among the key issues for Council members are:
how to manage the reservations from the host country about the timing of the mission;
what sort of information from the ground will be most useful to Council members in thinking about UNMIT’s mandate; and
the fact that justice and accountability issues are becoming a source of friction between the Council and the Timor-Leste government is in part because of a lack of sustained dialogue and the discussion in the Council being so public.
Selected Meeting Record