Dermot Ahern to Outline New Conflict Resolution Initiative in Timor-Minister Commences Two Day Visit to Asian Troublespot
The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern TD begins his two day
visit to Timor-Leste tomorrow (Wednesday) where he will outline a
partnership agreement in which Ireland will help stabilise the
South East Asian country and fund its continuing development.
Minister Ahern decided to press ahead with the official visit despite an attempted coup last week during which the President of Timor-Leste Ramos Horta was wounded by gunfire.
During his visit, Minister Ahern will unveil a new Government international initiative. The formal launch of his Department’s Conflict Resolution Unit, contained in the Programme for Government, will also include the appointment of a Roving Ambassador.
Timor-Leste will be the first country to be assisted by experts on the ground from the Conflict Resolution Unit.
Minister Ahern said: “Timor-Leste is in a transition phase, moving from conflict to stability and prosperity. Ireland wants to play its role in helping Timor, sharing our experience of conflict resolution and of building partnerships and a workable peace.
“We don’t have all the answers but I believe we have expertise and knowledge which we can share with the wider international community and particularly countries which are emerging from division and conflict. I believe our work on the ground in Timor can be rolled out in other countries as we expand the work of the Conflict Resolution Unit.
“This is a new role for Ireland internationally and a significant
development in our foreign policy. The unit will work closely with
our overseas aid programme through the development of several
initiatives complementary to the existing Irish Aid programme in
the country. The objective is to develop a coherent overall Irish
approach to development and conflict issues in Timor-Leste,
utilising and maintaining the high esteem in which Ireland is held
by government and civil society.
During his two day visit, Minister Ahern will hold talks with the Timor-Leste Prime Minister, Mr. Xanana Gusmão, and the Leader of the opposition Fretilin party, Mr. Mari Alkatiri. He will also meet with the President of the Parliament (and now acting President), Mr. Fernando de Araujo La Sama.
The Minister also hopes to visit projects funded by Irish Aid. Ireland has provided over €20 million in aid between 2003 and 2007. The Minister is expected to outline further funding during his visit.