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Ties between UN and Timor-Leste strong, says new envoy

13 January 2010 – Underscoring the strong ties between the United Nations and Timor-Leste, the world body’s new top envoy to the fledgling nation today expressed her commitment to continuing with the deep relationship.

These links were developed “over many years, and I am privileged to be leading the United Nations now to help people in Timor-Leste to continue with nation- and state-building,” Ameerah Haq, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, told reporters in her first press conference since arriving in the capital, Dili, last week.

“I am committed to continuing the work that the United Nations has done here,” she said, adding that she looks forward to the opportunity to hold “frank and cordial discussions” on a range of issues.

Since taking up her post, Ms. Haq said that she has been struck by the vibrancy of Dili, where Internet cafes are full and shops are thriving.

“It is great to see how people are moving around in a town that is peaceful and secure,” she stressed.

In the past week, she has met with President José Ramos-Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, among other top officials. This morning, she addressed the Council of Ministers.

Ms. Haq is also heading up the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known as UNMIT.

The mission was set up in 2006 to replace several earlier missions in the small South-East Asian country that the UN shepherded to independence in 2002 after it voted to separate from Indonesia, and currently has some 1,550 police and 30 military liaison officers on the ground.

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