7 April 2003
Security Council, Responding to Security Challenges in Timor-Leste, Delays Cutbacks in UN Forces
NEW YORK, 4 April (UN Headquarters) -- Noting continued challenges to the security and stability of Timor-Leste, the Security Council today adjusted the composition and strength of the police component of its Mission there to improve its capability to train the Timor-Leste Police Force, and it slowed the downsizing of the military component from what had been foreseen when the Mission was first established in May 2002.
Unanimously adopting resolution 1473 (2003), the Council decided to make those adjustments in line with proposals of the Secretary-General in his special report of 3 March (document S/2003/243), aimed at enhancing the operational capability of the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), to address civil disturbances and to improve capability for the development of the Timor-Leste police to respond to the weaknesses that had emerged.
Accordingly, the Council decided that adjustments to the police component would comprise the inclusion of an international formed unit for one year; additional training capacity in key areas specified in the special report, including crowd-control skills, forensics, tactical operations, border security; greater emphasis on human rights and rule of law elements; and the retention of a greater monitoring and advisory presence in districts where policing authority had been handed over to the Timor-Leste Police Force.
By further terms of the resolution, the schedule for downsizing the military component of UNMISET for the period until December 2003 would be adjusted in line with the letter of the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. Two battalions would be retained within regions adjoining the Tactical Coordination Line, together with associated force elements, including mobility, and the number of military peacekeepers would reduce to 1,750 more gradually than had been foreseen in resolution 1410 (2002).
Resolution 1410 (2002) established UNMISET as a successor mission of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) for a period of two years, to assist critical core administrative structure, provide interim law enforcement and public security, and contribute to the maintenance of the country's external and internal security. Further to its terms, UNMISET's downsizing should proceed "as quickly as possible" and fully devolve all operational responsibilities to the East Timorese authorities as soon as was feasible, without jeopardizing security.
The Council discussed the Secretary-General's special report on 10 March and, according to a letter before it today from Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno (document S/2003/379), members had endorsed the broad objective of reinforcing UNMISET's capability to develop the police force, while taking steps to ensure the short-term security and stability required for that training to succeed. (For a summary, please see Press Release SC/7683).
The meeting, which began at 5:45 p.m., adjourned at 5:50 p.m.
The full text of Council resolution 1473 (2003) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Reaffirming its previous resolutions on the situation in Timor-Leste, in particular resolution 1410 (2002) of 17 May 2002,
"Reiterating its full support for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET),
"Welcoming the progress that Timor-Leste has achieved with the assistance of UNMISET since independence,
"Noting the continued existence of challenges to the security and stability of Timor-Leste,
"Stressing that improving the overall capabilities of the Timor-Leste police force is a key priority,
"Having considered the special report of the Secretary-General on UNMISET of 3 March 2003 (S/2003/243),
"Having considered also the letter of 28 March 2003 from the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping to the members of the Security Council (S/2003/379, annex),
"1. Decides that the composition and strength of the police component of UNMISET and the schedule for its downsizing will be adjusted in line with paragraphs 33 and 35 of the special report of the Secretary-General and will include the following specific measures:
(i) inclusion of an international formed unit for one year;
(ii) the provision of additional training capacity in key areas specified in the Special Report of the Secretary-General;
(iii) greater emphasis on human rights and rule of law elements;
(iv) the retention of a greater monitoring and advisory presence in districts where policing authority has been handed over to the Timor-Leste Police Force;
(v) the following-up of the recommendations outlined in the report of the Joint Assessment Mission on policing of November 2002;
(vi) adjustment of planning for the gradual transfer of policing authority to the Timor-Leste Police Force;
"2. Decides that the schedule for the downsizing of the military component of UNMISET for the period up until December 2003 will be adjusted in line with the letter of 28 March 2003 from the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping to the members of the Security Council; and, accordingly, that two battalions will be retained within regions adjoining the Tactical Coordination Line during this period, together with associated force elements, including mobility; and that the number of military peacekeepers will reduce to 1,750 more gradually than was foreseen in resolution 1410 (2002);
"3. Requests the Secretary-General to provide by 20 May 2003 for the approval of the Security Council a detailed military strategy for the revised schedule for the downsizing of the military component of UNMISET;
"4. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council closely and regularly informed of developments on the ground and on implementation of the revised military and police strategies;
"5. Requests the Government of Timor-Leste to continue to work closely with UNMISET, including in the implementation of the revised police and military strategies;
"6. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
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