26 May 2006
Security Council, Expressing Serious Concern at Deteriorating Security Situation in Timor-Leste, Urges Government to Take All Necessary Steps to End Violence
In Presidential Statement, Council Welcomes Positive Responses By Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal to Country's Request for Assistance
NEW YORK, 25 May (UN Headquarters) -- Recognizing the urgency of the deteriorating security situation in the world's youngest nation, the Security Council this evening urged the Government of Timor-Leste to take all necessary steps to end the violence and to restore a secure and stable environment.
In a statement read out by its President for the month, Basile Ikouebe (Congo), the Council condemned acts of violence against people and destruction of property. It urged all parties in Timor-Leste to refrain from violence and to participate in the democratic process.
The Council acknowledged the request made by the Timorese Government to Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia to dispatch defence and security forces under bilateral arrangements. It welcomed the positive responses made by the Governments concerned and fully supported their deployment of defence and security forces to urgently assist Timor-Leste in restoring and maintaining security.
In addition, the Council welcomed the initiatives of the Secretary-General, including his intention to send a special envoy to Timor-Leste in order to facilitate the political dialogue.
The meeting began at 10:10 p.m. and ended at 10:25 p.m.
The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as S/PRST/2006/25, reads as follows:
"The Security Council received briefings from the Secretariat on the situation in Timor-Leste on 24 and 25 May 2006.
"The Security Council expresses its deep concern at developments in Timor-Leste, recognizes the urgency of the deteriorating security situation and condemns acts of violence against people, as well as destruction of property.
"The Security Council urges the Government of Timor-Leste to take all necessary steps to end the violence with due respect for human rights and to restore a secure and stable environment.
"The Security Council urges all parties in Timor-Leste to refrain from violence and to participate in the democratic process.
"The Security Council acknowledges the request made by the Government of Timor-Leste to the Governments of Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia to dispatch defence and security forces under bilateral arrangements.
"The Security Council welcomes the positive responses made by the governments concerned and fully supports their deployment of defence and security forces to urgently assist Timor-Leste in restoring and maintaining security.
"The Security Council looks forward to close cooperation between the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) and the forces of the Governments concerned.
"The Security Council welcomes the initiatives of the Secretary-General, including his intention to send a special envoy to Timor-Leste in order to facilitate the political dialogue.
"The Security Council requests the Secretary-General to follow closely the situation in Timor-Leste and to report on developments, as necessary.
"The Security Council will continue to monitor closely the situation in Timor-Leste and confirms that it will act, as appropriate."
Clashes that began late last month in the small island nation after some 600 soldiers were dismissed from the Timorese Defence Force turned increasingly violent between the army and the dismissed soldiers. Gun battles this week in the capital of Dili, causing deaths, injuries and property damage, brought the deployment of the first troops -- from Australia -- to the country's shores, after a request by the Government of Timor-Leste. New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia also agreed to send troops. In view of the deteriorating security and complex political situation, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today decided to send Ian Martin, the head of the United Nations Human Rights Mission in Nepal, to Dili to assess the situation first-hand.
United Nations peacekeepers were first deployed in East Timor in June 1999, as the country was known then, when the Security Council, by resolution 1246 (1999), authorized the establishment of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET). Following the announced rejection by the Timorese people of the proposed autonomy and the start of the process of transition towards independence on 30 August 1999, pro-integration militias, at times, with the support of elements within Indonesian security forces, launched a violent campaign throughout the entire Territory. The Indonesian authorities did not respond effectively to the violence, despite the agreements made with Portugal on 5 May 1999.
After strenuous diplomatic and relief efforts, East Timor declared its independence on 20 May 2002. That same day, the Security Council established the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). It was to assist East Timor for two years until all operational responsibilities were fully devolved to the Timorese authorities. The Council subsequently extended its mandate for another year to enable the new nation, which had changed its name to Timor-Leste, to attain self-sufficiency. When UNMISET completed its mandate on 20 May 2005, the Council established the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL), a follow-on special political mission, until 20 May 2006. On 12 May, Council members extended UNOTIL's mandate for another month, until 20 June, expressing their deep concern over the incidents of 28-29 April and the ensuing situation. They asked the Secretary-General to update them by 6 June on the situation and on the United Nations' role following UNOTIL's expiration.
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