21 June 2006
Security Council Extends Mandate of UN Office in Timor-Leste until 20 August, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 1690 (2006)
Condemns Continuing Violence in Country; Calls on International Security Forces to Continue Close Coordination with Timor-Leste Government, UN Office
NEW YORK, 20 June (UN Headquarters) -- The Security Council, taking into account the current volatile security situation in Timor-Leste and the need for a strengthened United Nations presence in the small South-East Asian country, today extended for two months the mandate of the United Nations Office (UNOTIL) there, and gave Secretary-General Kofi Annan until 7 August to report on the world body's future role when the Office's mandate expires.
Condemning continuing acts of violence against people and destruction of property in the wake of clashes sparked by the dismissal in April of nearly 600 soldiers, a third of the total armed forces, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1690 (2006) extending the mandate of the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) until 20 August 2006, with a view to planning for the strengthening of the United Nations post-UNOTIL role in the country.
[The UN presence in Timor-Leste has been drawn down since the original UN Transitional Administration (UNTAET) was set up in 1999 to usher the South-East Asian country to independence in 2002. This was then replaced with a downsized operation, the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), which, in turn, was succeeded by the current residual UN Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL).]
The Council welcomed the initiatives taken by the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy, Ian Martin, to asses the situation on the ground following the violence. It also expresses its "appreciation and full support" for the deployment of international security forces in response to the request of the Timorese Government, and their activities aiming to restore and maintain security in the county.
Also expressing its "deep concern over the volatile security situation ... and its serious humanitarian consequences", the Council took note with appreciation the work of those international forces in facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance and humanitarian access to the people of Timor-Leste in need, and encouraged those countries to continue to inform the Council of their activities.
The Council also welcomes the Secretary-General's initiative to ask the High Commissioner for Human Rights to take the lead in establishing a special inquiry commission, in response to Timorese Foreign Minister José Ramos-Horta's letter requesting that the United Nations set up such a panel to review the incidents of 28 and 29 April; 23, 24 and 25 May; and other related events or issues that contributed to the current crisis (document S/2006/391).
The Council's resolution takes note of a letter addressed to the Secretary-General from the President of the Timorese Parliament (document S/2006/383), which outlines the Government's suggestions for the United Nations post-UNOTIL engagement. It says that the Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) has not been able to discharge its operational responsibilities as a law enforcement agency, and basically disintegrated on 28 April 2006. It requests that the Secretary-General propose to the Security Council to establish immediately a United Nations police force in Timor-Leste, to maintain law and order in Dili and other parts of the country as necessary, and re-establish confidence among the people, until the PNTL has undergone reorganization and restructuring so that it can act as an independent and professional law enforcement agency.
According to the letter, in view of the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007, such a United Nations police force should remain in Timor-Leste for a minimum of one year, and be comprised of a strength of approximately 870 officers in five units, to undertake the following tasks:
-- Specialized and rapid reaction force through formed police units to maintain law and order in Dili and other key regions as necessary;
-- Community and general policing in Dili with limited presence in the districts (150-250 officers: the initial number of officers required will be
150 and increase to 250 during the first six months in 2007 when electoral campaign activities will take place);
-- Institutional and capacity-building advisory assistance for the reorganization of the PNTL, including vetting of PNTL officers, policy planning and legislative drafting, etc.;
-- Investigation of serious incidents along with forensic support to the districts; and
-- Management and support functions will be carried out at United Nations Police Force/PNTL headquarters in Dili.
The meeting began at 10:21 a.m. and ended at 10:25 a.m.
The full text of Council resolution 1690 (2006) reads, as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its relevant resolutions on the situation in Timor-Leste, in particular its resolution 1599 (2005) of 28 April 2005 and resolution 1677 (2006) of 12 May 2006,
"Expressing its deep concern over the volatile security situation in Timor-Leste and its serious humanitarian repercussions,
"Condemning continuing acts of violence against people and destruction of property,
"Welcoming the initiatives taken by the Secretary-General, including the work of his Special Envoy to Timor-Leste, to assess the situation on the ground,
"Taking note of the letter dated 11 June 2006 addressed to the Secretary-General from the President of the Republic of Timor-Leste, the President of the Parliament and the Prime Minister (S/2006/383), as well as the letter dated 8 June addressed to the Secretary-General from the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defence of Timor-Leste (S/2006/391),
"Reaffirming its full commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Timor-Leste,
"Remaining fully committed to the promotion of long-lasting stability in Timor-Leste,
"1. Decides to extend the mandate of the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) until 20 August 2006 with a view to planning for the role of the United Nations following the expiration of the mandate of UNOTIL;
"2. Expresses its appreciation and full support for the deployment of international security forces by the Governments of Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia in response to the request of the Government of Timor-Leste and their activities aiming to restore and maintain security in Timor-Leste, takes note with appreciation that the work of those international forces is also facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance and humanitarian access to the people of Timor-Leste in need, and encourages those countries to continue to inform the Council of their activities;
"3. Calls upon the international security forces to continue to work in close coordination with the Government of Timor-Leste, as well as the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL);
"4. Urges all parties in Timor-Leste to refrain from violence and to participate in the democratic process;
"5. Requests the Secretary-General to provide the Council by 7 August 2006 a report on the role for the United Nations in Timor-Leste following the expiration of the mandate of UNOTIL, taking into account the current situation and the need for a strengthened presence of the United Nations;
"6. Welcomes the initiative of the Secretary-General to ask the High Commissioner for Human Rights to take the lead in establishing an independent special inquiry commission in response to the request made by the Government of Timor-Leste in the letter dated 8 June 2006, and requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council informed on this matter;
"7. Calls upon the donor community to respond urgently and positively to the Flash Appeal launched by the United Nations on 12 June 2006 for humanitarian assistance to Timor-Leste;
"8. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter."
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