SECRETARY-GENERAL PRAISES COURAGE, DETERMINATION
NEW YORK, 27 September (UN Headquarters) -- Following are the remarks of Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the flag-raising ceremony for Timor-Leste in New York on 27 September:
This is an historic occasion.
About four months ago, I had the honour of attending the Independence Day celebrations in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. Today, it gives me great pleasure to welcome Timor-Leste to the United Nations as the Organization’s 191st Member.
This milestone embodies the realization of its people’s hope to take their place in the community of independent nations. The United Nations has supported them over the years, through operations such as the multinational force INTERFET, the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).
Now, I look forward to seeing Timor-Leste’s active participation in this Organization: a participation defined by the democratic principles that marked its people’s struggle and which are embodied in the United Nations Charter.
None of us who followed Timor-Leste’s long struggle for self-determination can help being moved by this moment. None of us can forget the sacrifices made by the people or the courage of its leadership. Even before this day, Timor-Leste showed that greatness among nations is not a matter of size or resources, but rather one of global citizenship and adherence to the highest principles of our Charter.
I am confident that the courage and determination of the people of Timor-Leste -- and their commitment to build their nation in a spirit of justice, reconciliation and democracy -- will be the strongest guarantee that what they have achieved today is preserved for future generations to come.
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