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X. Gusmao: Address to World Summit 2013

PhotoTimor-Leste became independent on 20 May 2002 after 24 years of a difficult struggle for freedom. As a country recently emerging from a prolonged conflict, with Indonesia and between ourselves, we decided to give real value to our struggle and to avoid being subjugated by the memories of the sacrifices of the past.

We understood that peace was not just the absence of war but signifies the calmness of the spirit of each Timorese and the harmony between our communities and the relations of friendship with other people.

We forged a reconciliation process with Indonesia, and today the two countries enjoy neighborly the ties of friendship and cooperation. We also proceeded with the proper mechanisms to slowly heal our internal wounds, even if we were unable to avoid entering into a violent crisis in 2006.

We reflected deeply about our post-conflict situation and, in 2009, on the tenth anniversary of the Popular Consultation of 1999, which concluded with the uncontrollable destruction of our whole country, we launched an appeal to the people, who went forward with the motto: “Goodbye Conflict, Welcome Development.”

Since then, the people of Timor-Leste have lived in a climate of peace and stability.

In 2010, we had the honor to organize an international conference for fragile and post-conflict countries, with the theme “Peace Building and State Building,” to define a clear road map for the countries with difficulties in shaking the state of inertia that subjugated them.

We realized that without democracy there can be no inclusive and integrated development, but also that without stability there can be no development, and that true peace can only be achieved if democracy walks together with it in firm steps and in a continuous process. For this to happen, democracy needs to be an internal process for each country, undertaken conscientiously by the people.

Democratization processes that are imposed from outside are bound to be unsustainable, because deep internal divisions will take long to heal and, in the end, will cause great suffering to innocent civilians.

As a young State, we have been searching to learn from the errors and setbacks that we are making. And, in a permanent dialogue with all public institutions and civil society, we have been overcoming the challenges inherent to State building. Fortunately, we are now at the beginning of a new chapter of our history, which includes the ongoing strengthening of our State agencies, economic growth and sustainable development.

Today, we have a Strategic Development Plan for a period of 20 years, within which we will seek to transform our country from a low-income nation to a country with upper-middle income levels by 2030, with a population that is educated, healthy, secure, and prosperous.

The process of peace requires continuity, and it must include giving the dividends of peace to each home and to each family. It must include providing better conditions to every man and every woman so that they are able to live with full security in a broader dimension -- political, social, economic, cultural, and environmental.

Nowadays, we are witnessing an increase in regional and international forums debating constructive solutions, towards peace and/or development of human beings. We have lived the experiences, and considered the theories, of prestigious institutions that permanently deal with the poverty of people, and both have failed in their application to the realities of each country by using the standard approach of one size fits all.

In this last decade, Timor-Leste was also the recipient of international assistance which we are very grateful for. However, with this partnership, there were successes and failures which do not justify the amount of money spent.

And so, Timor-Leste started to lead the G7+ dialogues, a group comprised of 18 countries representing a total of more than 350 million people. We have been insisting, with the international community, on the need to adopt new mechanisms of cooperation because old ones, which have been used for decades, have proved inefficient.

It is also for this reason, that we are defending the New Deal, which was launched right here in South Korea, in the city of Busan, which reflects the need for developing countries to know their own reality (social, political and economic), their weaknesses and their potential, in the way to conduct their own development process in a credible, responsible, and gradual way.

The New Deal brings a new hope for the sustainable development of fragile States, enabling better leadership by the recipient countries and better coordination of international assistance. This new approach focusing on the realities that are inherent to the beneficiaries and their needs will have greater impact on their people.

This new approach is not only necessary; it is urgent. Around 1.5 billion people across the world live in areas affected by fragility, organized crime, and conflict.

In this regard, three days from now we will be hosting in Dili the leaders of the Governments of the G7+ countries and the close neighbors of Timor-Leste from the Pacific, as well as Australia and Indonesia, for international conference on the post-2015 Development Agenda. The theme of this conference is “Development for All – We Will Not Leave 1.5 Billion People Behind.”

It is our intention, through this collective reflection, to be able to contribute with pertinent recommendations, to be included in the United Nations High Level Panel Report, which our Minister of Finance is part of.

As I said before, there is a need for a new approach to lift 1.5 billion people from conditions of misery. Now, let me speak about another new approach to building peace in the world.

Last January, my Government decided to support the realization of a Conference in Dili, which is planned for this year, to be organized by the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council. The APRC was established in September last year in Bangkok.

I am particularly satisfied with the presence of the ICAPP here which, almost a year ago, held a conference in Dili. My good friend, Jose de Venecia, is also a founding member of the Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council, along with other distinguished individuals in East Asia, including our former President of the Republic, Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta, today the SRSG in Guinea-Bissau.

On the 8th of this month, we inaugurated in front of the building of our National Parliament a statue of Sri Chinmoy – a replica of the one inaugurated for the London Olympics.

The meditation sessions which the dreamer of World Peace Sri Chinmoy promoted in the United Nations Headquarters should have had a more positive result on the DPKO interventions and in the United Nations Security Council decisions.

The problem is this – that the Arab Spring, Inshya Allah, will not become the Arab hell!

Iraq and Afghanistan suffered profound ruptures in their social fabric, and any prospect of bringing an end to these situations will not guarantee the end of conflict and of internal violence. Africa is wounded from the inside. Asia is agitated with nerves, and each country faces their own problems, both internal and with their neighbors.

In the world of today, democracies cannot be built with violence; in the world of today, wars don’t bring peace!

The phenomenon of war has undergone deep changes which have resulted in more and more civilian populations being affected and which have required further aid assistance to humanitarian organizations which, in the end, is unsustainable in terms of time and space. War today goes beyond borders and disguises ongoing acts of violence with unacceptable motivations, which makes more complex the process of their resolution.

It is time for all of us to reflect if these failures of the so-called good will of these international organizations, political and military, are not associated with the eternal primacy of economic interests that act against the genuine will of a nation and its people.

While international interventions are often motivated by interests that are not truly the political needs of each process, this effort will continue to be counterproductive.

The need for a courageous changing of attitudes by world leaders is urgent. Also urgent is the need for a structural change of minds which focuses on the root causes of problems and not just their consequences. It is urgent that world powers, and their international organizations, recognize the need to apply a new diplomacy that opens a space for more dialogue, and more contact.

Dialogue and contact between civilizations and between religions, undertaken under the principle of respect, can produce a common understanding about the crucial problems of humanity.

In this millennium, there should be no more space for the exercise of power and for attitudes of intolerance, or behaviors of economic, cultural, political, and social supremacy.

This Summit could not be held in a more appropriate setting than in South Korea. We are witnessing a unique historical moment, considering the new leadership in nations, that are central to regional stability and development such as China, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea.

This is an opportunity to overcome the lingering tensions in this region, mainly the latent threats on the Korean Peninsula.

The Republic of Korea, China, and Japan are very good friends of Timor-Leste and have been providing great support to our development. I am confident that, with the new leadership of these countries, the stability of the region will be reinforced through the strengthening of dialogue and the searching for creative and peaceful solutions, that may even lead to the denuclearization of the region.

As my dear friend the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, stated at the United Nations General Assembly, “More than ever, the fate of the world is in the hands of its leaders – all of them, without exception. We can either unite and together emerge victorious; or we can emerge defeated.”

For more information about World Summit 2013, click here.