In response to your Feb. 25 editorial “U.N. success in East Timor”: I heartily endorse your recognition of the vital and successful role of the United Nations in that nation's progress.
The U.N.'s success in East Timor highlights not only the importance of peacekeeping in stabilizing global hot spots, but also the enduring commitment of U.N. member states, most notably the United States, to promoting peace and reconciliation through peacekeeping operations.
U.N. peacekeepers are sometimes the international community's best tool to help countries that are emerging from conflict establish peace that will last.
As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, the United States plays a critical role in the establishment of any peacekeeping operation. Although more than 70 percent of the annual cost of U.N. peacekeeping operations is paid by the rest of the world, the United States remains the single largest contributor.
In addition to multilateral support, the United States has provided more than $330 million in bilateral assistance to East Timor since 2002, and has provided experts, police monitors, and other support to international efforts in East Timor since its independence.
To suggest, as your editorial did, that the United States has shown no interest in East Timor is entirely inaccurate. Working together with the U.N. and other partners, the United States has not only shown an interest in East Timor, but also has provided it real and substantial support.
Assistant Secretary Bureau of International Organization Affairs
U.S. Department of State