Intervention of H.E. Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister of East Timor, at the 5th Rally of Hope on  28 February 2021.

Excellencies Ladies and gentlemen, It is an honour and a privilege to address you all at this 5th Rally of Hope. I would like to start by honouring the victims of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has already killed over 2.3 million people throughout the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.

At a time when this tragedy compels us to close our borders, virtually all of us must prepare to deal with a serious social and economic crisis that will further increase poverty and inequality in our countries. And so, I would like to see international cooperation and solidarity strengthened, so that poorer countries are not left behind! Vaccines must reach every person quickly and free of charge, and we must focus on global resilience rather than national. This is a true test for the global partnership (or global network) and of the commitment of the member States of the United Nations, which must work tirelessly to improve the mechanisms to respond to humanitarian crises, particularly pandemic emergencies.

Your Excellencies, I would also like to thank Dr Moon, co-founder of the UPF, for her utmost dedication to promoting global peace and understanding, and let me honour as well the memory of her late husband, Rev. Dr Sun Myung Moon, so that we may continue his work of promoting greater solidarity between all peoples.

In 2019, I took part in the World Leaders’ Gathering at the Asia Pacific Summit, in Cambodia. At the time we vowed to spare no effort in promoting peace, prosperity, and universal values. However, I am saddened to see that war and conflict have not abated and that millions of men, women and children continue to suffer as before. For it to be truly possible to further peace and to quell terror, we must understand and believe that everyone truly matters. We must protect equality and universal values, and we must do so while respecting the uniqueness of every individual, society, and country.

Today’s challenges are complex and require new stances and approaches. We must redesign the models of the past to adapt them to reality, or better yet, to the various realities. We must do our best to encourage dialogue between warring groups and amongst all those that can contribute to a solution, both within countries and outside. We cannot continue to focus our efforts on humanitarian assistance that is mostly channeled to the proliferation of workshops and capacity building. What good is it to have a Civil Society that is expert on “human rights”, “democratic principles” and the “rule of law” if it does not have a State – a nation – to serve? "

Speaking from experience, both in my country of Timor-Leste and in the group of fragile and conflict-affected countries called the G7+, I can say with certainty that fair peace means much more than the absence of conflict. It is paramount to also free people from hunger, disease, and poverty. We learned during our first years of independence that there can be no development without peace and no peace without development! As such, the inherent reality of fragile and conflict-affected countries must be considered when discussing global peace and development, in the search for a new world order.

And let us not fool ourselves: there will be no peace for people that do not take ownership of their own destiny and that do not work together to achieve it. So, I say, ladies and gentlemen, that courage and resilience are the key words for today’s challenges. Courage, so as not to give in to pessimism and not to stop trying, which would make the world’s problems even worse. And resilience, so as to continue working to unite people within their diversity and to ensure that intensive dialogue and diplomacy prevail.

The International Community must remain steadfast and show solidarity. We do not have time to waste any opportunity we have to do better, consistent with universal values, our interdependence and the strengthening of partnerships based on mutual respect. We must do better for individuals and for the whole of humanity, until fair peace is both a right and a duty for every person in the world.

Thank you very much.


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