Fundasaun Mahein (FM) would like to welcome the appointment today of Timor-Leste’s new Minister of Defence, Filomeno Paixão de Jesus, following his exoneration from his position as Brigadier General, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of F-FDTL. This follows the Government’s approval of his exoneration on 3 July, discussions by the Superior Council on Defence and Security on 5 July and his appointment by the President of the Republic today.
FM recognises the Defence Minsters distinguished military career, his graduation at the top of his class from the Portuguese Joint Command and Staff College (IESM) and his attendance of Australian Defence Force (ADF) courses. His experience and seniority within the F-FDTL and the skills he has developed through professional military education with Timor-Leste’s defence partners means that Minster Paixão has a nuanced understand of defence within the Timor-Leste context, at both the policy and operational levels.
Furthermore, his long service with the F-FDTL means that he understands well the progress that has been made so far and the challenges faced by the F-FDTL in its ongoing development. He is calm, rationale and intelligent and FM believes he is the best possible candidate to develop and implement policy that guides the F-FDTL’s continued evolution into a professional convention defence force. We also note that he has been cooperative with Civil Society in Timor-Leste during his service and open to civil input which bodes well for future civil-military cooperation in Timor-Leste.
Whilst FM welcomes Minister Paixão’s appointment, we remain concerned that the Minister of Interior has yet to be appointed, due to the allegations made by the President of the Republic. Whilst recognising the President’s allegations, we also note the several Ministers were appointed by the President to the VII Constitutional Government, despite facing similar allegations. This begs the question of why the President has blocked the appointment of Antonio Verdial, despite the Prime Minister’s choosing him for the position? This raised concerns for the Ministry of Interior’s capacity to develop and implement policy in coordination with the Ministry of Defence, as cooperation between these two Ministries is critical to providing for Timor-Leste security and defence needs.
-The VIII Constitutional Government develop National Security Policy towards the effective implementation of the Law No.2 2010 on National Security
-The VIII Constitutional Government established the Maritime Authority System, as required under Law No.2 2010 on National Security
-The Ministry of Defence and F-FDTL conduct a Military Strategic Review and Force Structure Review to shape the F-FDTL’s pending Force Development Plan 2018-2024 (PDF)
-The Ministry of Defence more effectively coordinates F-FDTL Capacity Development with Timor-Leste’s defence partners
-Minister Paixão continues to invite and consider Civil Society contributions towards effective development and implementation of Defence policy