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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 09:07 GMT 10:07 UK
E Timor independence: Annan's speech
Gusmao and Annan
President Gusmao hugs the UN Secretary General
The following are extracts from the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's speech at the ceremony marking the independence of East Timor.

"With the start of 20 May you will step into a new era in your history as an independent nation. I am deeply honoured and moved to be with you at this moment.

With a new day comes a new beginning for East Timor. Your identity as an independent people will be recognised by the whole world.


You should be very proud of your feat: that a small nation is able to inspire the world

We honour every citizen of East Timor who assisted in the struggle of independence. We also remember the many who are no longer with us, but who dreamt of this moment. It is their day too.

You should be very proud of your feat: that a small nation is able to inspire the world and be the focus of our attention. This is the highest tribute I can give you.

I am also deeply proud of the partnership between you, the people of East Timor, and us, the United Nations. Together we have laid the foundations for a prosperous and democratic future.

While your determination assured the success of your cause, you have also been helped by friends from all over the world.

For the past two and a half years, a global alliance of nations have come together to make this day possible.

Never before has the United Nations been asked to administer a territory on its way to independence.


My friends, let me assure you that independence will not mean the end of the world's commitment to you.

As you now set out to shape your own destiny, you will face trials and challenges. Independence is not an end. It is the beginning of self-rule, which requires compromise, discipline, unity and resolve.

Those who are privileged to lead you will have to strive constantly to reduce poverty, disease and inequality, to provide education and good governance and to uphold the rule of law.

All of you who are privileged to be citizens of the new nation will have to work hard for your nation, for yourselves and for your friends and neighbours.

Above all, you must remain united. Unity does not mean that only one set of beliefs is allowed, or that one answer exists. It means celebrating the variety of views and ideas. All of which can help build a diverse and creative society.

My friends, let me assure you that independence will not mean the end of the world's commitment to you.

The United Nations will stay, your friends around the world will continue to help. We will all work together to ensure that the first years of independence are years of stability and progress.

I have no doubt that you will fulfil your new roles as citizens of East Timor and the world, with spirit and great success. I wish you a bright and secure future.

Parabens, boa sorte e obrigado barak! Viva Timor Leste! (Congratulations, good luck and thank you very much! Long live East Timor!)"

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.


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19 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
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