Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-11-18-Speech-4-205"

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"Mr President, this week sees the start of the United Nations transfer of authority in East Timor to UNTAET. They do not have an easy task. The situation of delay, made worse by the vindictive destruction perpetrated by the Indonesian armed forces, the small size of the territory together with the fact that there is another half to the island, the coexistence with neighbours and powerful interests and the lack of an administration are all factors that contribute to the complexity of the task and show the need for the involvement of the Timorese and the importance of international solidarity. The next two years must be won. We must build basic infrastructures, establish bases for production, install an administration where none currently exists and do so taking into account the will and the involvement of the Timorese people. They know what they want and have the right to participate from the outset in their country’s construction. With regard to international solidarity, it is clear that the joint assessment mission, coordinated by the World Bank and in which elements of the Commission participated, has finished its work in the area. An estimate of the costs of reconstruction has been made – EUR 250 million over three years – and a conference of donors will be held on 17 December. The data that has been made available is very useful for Parliament too. I must point out that after the referendum on August 30 we were already expressing our desire for the European Union to become actively involved in the tasks of reconstruction. In line with this desire, when, at first reading, we took a stand on Budget 2000, we established a specific point of a multiannual nature with EUR 30 million allocated to the reconstruction of East Timor, an amount that should be increased in view of the information provided by the joint assessment mission. In conclusion, I would like to highlight the tragic situation of the 250 thousand refugees outside East Timor: the whereabouts of several dozen thousands of people is not known and many of those we do know about are women and children. The refugee camps are dominated by those militias who, having terrorised East Timor, are continuing to do the same in Indonesian territory. In the meantime, Indonesia is keeping its land borders closed. The situation is intolerable and is affecting a third of East Timor’s population, which has the right to a free and informed choice as to whether they stay in Indonesia or return to East Timor."@en1

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