News Brief: IMF Managing Director Welcomes East Timor's Membership

July 23, 2002

IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler made the following statement today:

"Prime Minister Alkatiri, Finance Minister Boavida, and other distinguished delegates; it is an honor for me today to welcome East Timor to the International Monetary Fund, as our 184th member.

"Today's events―marking East Timor's membership in the IMF and the World Bank―represent another decisive step in the process of nation-building. East Timor is claiming its place as a respected member of the global community of nations. And it is demonstrating its commitment to meet the responsibilities and reap the benefits of international cooperation.

"Your country has come a long way since the violence and devastation of late 1999. Peace and political stability have been restored, economic activity has recovered, essential political and economic institutions have been established, and independence has been secured. While the international community has helped, these achievements are, fundamentally, a tribute to the endurance of the East Timorese people, and to the commitment of your leadership in establishing the foundations of a stable and prosperous future.

"East Timor's transition to independence has been impressive, yet the future holds many challenges. East Timor begins its life as one of the world's poorest countries. Achieving a sustained increase in prosperity will require sound economic management, in order to establish the conditions for economic growth and stability—not least, by harnessing the benefits of future oil and gas revenues. Your recently drafted National Development Plan appropriately emphasizes the importance of maintaining financial stability, and fostering private sector development through an open and market-based economic system, supported by strong institutions and a sound regulatory and legal framework.

"East Timor's membership today follows the IMF's involvement over the past three years in working with the United Nations, the World Bank, and the international donor community to assist in building institutions for sound economic management. We are proud to have been part of this effort. Looking ahead, I encourage you to make full use of the many benefits of IMF membership, and can assure you of our readiness to remain your partner in meeting the challenges that lie ahead. While those challenges are significant, I am confident that, with the continued support of the international community and your commitment to setting the country on a sound policy path, East Timor will rise to the occasion, as it has done so many times in the past.

"Once again, welcome to the International Monetary Fund. Thank you."


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