East Timor - A UN Success Story

07/09/2001

As East Timor became the world's newest nation in the 21st century, the United Nations should be proud of its role in helping to end four centuries of foreign rule. On a makeshift stage in a field on the outskirts of the capital Dili, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan handed over power to East Timor's parliament chief triggering a thunderous roar from the crowd according to the Financial Times.

Former guerrilla leader, Xanana Gusmao, who was elected through a fair and open UN supervised mission, reminded everyone especially the leaders, that they would need discipline to affirm popular power, tolerance to affirm democracy and reconciliation to affirm unity. The UN Secretary-General emphasized the need for more material and financial support to help rebuild the country. A new UN representative was appointed to ensure continued international support. He is Kamalesh Sharma, the former ambassador of India, who has a proven track record of diplomatic skill and understands how the international mechanism operates. He will be a great help. Maybe the UN should make a more elaborate and enduring effort to documents its role in this successful human experiment.