Note of Condolence on the death of Francesc Vendrell

Presidency of the Council of Ministers

Eighth Constitutional Government


Press Release

Note of Condolence on the death of Francesc Vendrell

The Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste has received with deep sadness the news of the passing away of the Catalan diplomat Francesc Vendrell, former Deputy Personal Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), deeply involved in the negotiations that led to the popular consultation on August 20th, 1999 and the self-determination of the Timorese people.

Francesc Vendrell, born in Barcelona in 1940, died this Sunday, November 27th, 2022 in London, at the age of 82.

In 2019, during his visit to the country for the celebrations of the twentieth anniversary of the Popular Consultation, Francesc Vendrell was awarded the Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste, an award he had been given in 2009.

Vendrell joined the UN diplomatic corps in 1968, where he served as the UN Secretary-General's personal representative in the peace processes in El Salvador and Nicaragua (1989-1991), Guatemala (1990-1992) and Timor-Leste (1999).

He is considered the United Nations official who followed the Timor-Leste issue the longest, having in 1975 convinced the then Under-Secretary-General Tang Ming-Chao to approve a report on Timor (published in 1976).

The diplomat played a crucial role in the production of the eight General Assembly resolutions on Timor-Leste, passed between 1976 and 1982 when the issue was progressively fading from the United Nations' attention.

Between 1993 and 1999, he headed the UN Department for Asia and the Pacific, having been deeply involved in the negotiations between Portugal and Indonesia on the Timor-Leste issue, first as senior advisor and then as Deputy Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, which culminated in the May 1999 Agreement, followed by the Popular Consultation of August 20th, 1999, which led to the self-determination of the Timorese people.

After the referendum in Timor-Leste, Vendrell was appointed Personal Representative of the Secretary-General for Afghanistan and after retiring from the UN, he was appointed Special Representative for Afghanistan by the European Union, a position he held until September 2008.

Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak stressed that "his actions and deep commitment to human rights, justice and solidarity will remain in our memory and hearts".

The spokesperson for the 8th Constitutional Government, Minister Fidelis Magalhães, on behalf of the Government and the Timorese people, offered his condolences to the family and friends of Francesc Vendrell and stated that "his memory will be forever linked to the history of Timor-Leste, for his tireless work towards the international recognition of the right to self-determination of the Timorese people". END