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Volume 458: debated on Tuesday 13 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received on the situation in East Timor. (126975)

Our Embassy in Jakarta covers East Timorese affairs with the assistance of our Honorary Consul in Dili. They provide regular reports on developments in East Timor. The Embassy deployed a team of four officials to Dili on 7 March to assess the situation on the ground and to ensure that consular arrangements for British nationals are sufficiently rigorous. They reported that Dili was calm at the time of their arrival, but that the security situation remains fragile and susceptible to change at any moment.

We are concerned by the deterioration of the security situation in East Timor and the resulting casualties and have urged all concerned to bring an end to the violence and resolve the problems within the framework of the constitution and laws.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the United Nations envoy in Timor-Leste on progress with the peace process there. (126810)

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not had any discussions with the special representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) to East Timor. However, the UK has played a key role in the UN Security Council to ensure a robust UN Mission to East Timor has been put in place in Dili, focusing on areas of potential instability and conflict. Our officials in New York and Dili have met with the SRSG on a number of occasions. We have highlighted the importance of political reconciliation and the need for timely, peaceful and fair elections as an important part of the peace process. The UN Mission has a key role to play in public education, facilitation of political dialogue and assistance with electoral organisation. It is also working to achieve early progress in Security Sector Reform and the judicial sector, not least to ensure that elections take place in a framework that provides for long-lasting stability.