Elections in the spotlight during talks between UN chief and Timorese premier

20 September 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Timorese Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão have discussed the South-East Asian country’s ongoing preparations for presidential and parliamentary elections next year in a tête-à-tête that also focused on efforts to promote national reconciliation. Meeting today at United Nations Headquarters in New York, on the eve of the General Assembly’s annual high-level segment, Mr. Ban and Mr. Gusmão discussed “the constructive dialogue among national leaders” that took place in Timor-Leste in late July, according to a read-out issued by a spokesperson for the Secretary-General.The small nation has suffered bouts of violence since it became independent in 2002, and a series of deadly clashes in 2006 led the world body to set up a peacekeeping mission (UNMIT), succeeding earlier UN missions there.At today’s meeting Mr. Ban stressed the UN’s willingness to support the electoral process as needed and commended the recent progress under the leadership of Mr. Gusmão.He also acknowledged the significance of Timor-Leste’s own police force – known as the PNTL – resuming policing responsibilities from UNMIT earlier thus year, and said the mission would continue to work closely with authorities to promote capacity-building. read more