Dermot Ahern Appoints Nuala O’Loan as Roving Ambassador and Special Envoy for Conflict Resolution to Timor -Leste
Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, today announced the appointment of former Northern Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan as Ireland’s first Roving Ambassador and Special Envoy for Conflict Resolution to Timor-Leste.
Minister Ahern’s announcement was made in Dili, the capital of Timor during his two day visit to the region. The visit comes in the wake of the attempted assassination last week of its President, José Ramos Horta.
The Minister met with the Prime Minister and former President
Xanana Gusmao and the Council of Ministers. The Minister also
Parliament in Dili. Minister Ahern is the first Foreign Minister to have been afforded this honour in light of Ireland’s long support for the independence struggle of the East Timorese people and its ongoing role in the area of development aid.
Under Ireland’s Conflict Resolution Initiative, the Government will share lessons learned from the peace process in Ireland with other partner states which have suffered similar conflicts. Timor is the first such partner.
In his address to Parliamentarians, Minister Ahern announced the appointment of Ms O’Loan. The appointment has been warmly welcomed by the Timorese Government.
Minister Ahern said: “Ms O’Loan’s appointment is the first under the Government’s Conflict Resolution Initiative. Timor Leste, one of the youngest nations in the world, and one in which Ireland has had a presence since 2000, has suffered from its share of instability in recent years. I believe that Ms O’Loan, working closely with the Government and Opposition, can bring her experience and wisdom to bear on the situation.”
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to see the situation for myself here on the ground, in the wake of the events of last week, in which President Ramos Horta was shot and wounded.”
“I am heartened that the situation remains stable if tense. I have
had very fruitful talks with Prime Minister Gusmao and addressed a
specially convened session of the Cabinet.”
“I believe that our assistance in examining how the positive lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process can perhaps be translated into the context of East Timor will be very valuable.”
“It is important to stress that my visit is part of a long-term and systematic series of contacts between our two countries under the Conflict Resolution Initiative.”
“Ireland supported the Timorese people in their struggle for independence, our Army assisted in the transition to independence, and, through the Conflict Resolution Initiative and the ongoing role of Irish Aid I am determined to see us play a key role in assisting the transition to stability and prosperity in this country.”
“It is also clear to me that East Timor needs economic growth and employment creation. The next phase of our aid programme will also include a focus on job creation.”
During the visit the Minister will also meet Mr. Tom Hyland, the Irish campaigner for East Timorese independence, who is now working with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for East Timor.
Commenting on today’s news, Mr Hyland said
“I warmly welcome this initiative which I believe will give greater depth to Ireland programme of development with East Timor.”
Note to Editors
Key Elements of Ireland’s Conflict Resolution Initiative:
• Establishment of an Academic Centre for Conflict
• A system of Roving Ambassadors to conflict and post-conflict societies.
• The funding of fourth level scholarships in the conflict resolution area.