Judith Fergin serves as U.S. Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
When the people of Timor-Leste woke up this morning, their young nation had opened a new chapter in its history. Today is the first day since 1999 that there is no UN Security Council-mandated mission on the ground.
From the passage of UNSC Resolution 384 on December 22, 1975 to 1999, Timor-Leste remained on the Council’s agenda as unfinished post-colonial business. In 1999, the Security Council supported the UN-administered popular consultation in which Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence instead of continued incorporation in Indonesia; it then sadly directed the dispatch of peacekeepers as a result of post-referendum violence. A series of peacekeeping and special political missions ensued. In 2011, the final peacekeeping mission — the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) — and the government established a joint transition plan to ensure an orderly transition to post-peacekeeping. The final Security Council Resolution on Timor-Leste, number 2037 of February 23, 2012, set December 31, 2012 as the end of UNMIT’s mandate.
"For the United States, these last four years have been witness to the power of U.S. global leadership. U.S. leadership at the United Nations not only has promoted so many of our own strategic interests; it also has been essential to addressing the world’s most pressing collective threats and challenges."
"Upon taking office four years ago, President Obama pledged to renew America’s leadership at the United Nations, recognizing its essential role in advancing U.S. strategic interests and defending universal values. President Obama has kept that promise and, today, the results of U.S. leadership are clear."