Ambassador Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick Remarks on the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Maritime Police Unit Pier

To His Excellency Minister of Defense and Security Jose Agustinho Somotxo, local & national government partners, community members, and of course, the U.S. Navy Seabees. Good morning.

I am happy to be here with all of you today for the official opening of the Maritime Police Unit’s brand new small boat pier. The pier is the result of a long-standing and successful partnership between the United States and Timor-Leste. I am truly amazed at our collective success and I look forward to seeing more accomplishments in the future. I would like to thank the Ministry of Defense and Security, PNTL’s Maritime Police Unit (MPU), Underwater Construction Team TWO, NMCB 4, and the various partners who collaborated in this remarkable effort.

The pier will enhance the MPU’s waterborne/small craft operations training program, organized by the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS). It will also improve boat operations, response to security issues, and patrol in Dili and major shipping lanes along the Northern Coast. The pier utilized materials designed and manufactured in the United States. Furthermore, the materials would be more than twice the cost if a private contractor completed the work. This project is also one of very few military construction projects jointly funded by the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense. It marks a historic achievement for everyone involved. We hope to work with the F-FDTL, PNTL MPU, and other partners to develop more projects like this in the future, which benefit both the Timorese and the American people.

Congratulations to all of our partners and friends, and thanks for allowing me to share this wonderful achievement with you today.