26 May 2005

Budget Committee Takes up Reports on Financing for Timor-Leste Support Mission through 31 October Liquidation

NEW YORK, 25 May (UN Headquarters) -- In a brief meeting this afternoon, the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) heard the introduction of several reports on the financing of the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), which completed its mandate on 20 May 2005 and is scheduled to complete its administrative liquidation by 31 October.

Introducing the Secretary-General’s proposed budget for UNMISET for the period 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006 (document A/59/637), United Nations Controller Warren Sach noted that, as a result of progress in the Mission’s administrative liquidation and arrangements for UNMISET’s follow-on mission, UNOTIL, revised requirements amounted to some $1.7 million, which was some $2.2 million less than the $3.86 million originally anticipated.  Liquidation had moved ahead earlier than expected during the current financial period.

Commenting on the Mission’s performance report for the period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004 (document A/59/655), he said the main reason for under-expenditure in the Mission’s budget related to faster-than-projected downsizing of military contingents and civilian personnel, and a certain reduction in its air operations.

Established by Security Council resolution 1410 of May 2002, the mandate of UNMISET was adjusted and extended in subsequent Council resolutions, the latest of which was resolution 1573 of November 2004, which extended the Mission’s mandate for a final period of six months until 20 May 2005.  The follow-on mission -- the United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) -- was established by Council resolution 1599 of April 2005 to take over from UNMISET at the end of its mandate.

Recommending that the General Assembly accept the Secretary-General’s updated budget proposal of $1.7 million, the Vice-Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), Rajat Saha, noted that on 18 May 2005 the Advisory Committee had received the updated financial and human resource requirements for the Mission’s liquidation phase (see document A/59/736/Add.17).  On the Mission’s performance for 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2004, he recommended that the unspent balance of some $12.82 million, as well as other income and adjustments amounting to $5.25 million, be credited to Member States in a manner to be determined by the Assembly.

Indonesia’s representative welcomed the fact that the Mission had been able to discharge its mandate, seeking to equip Timor-Leste for self-sufficiency.  However, the country was still some distance away from being fully self-reliant.  He looked forward to the time when UNOTIL would assume responsibility for providing assistance to the country.  Indonesia stood ready to help Timor-Leste achieve its goals.  He also welcomed the establishment of the Commission on Truth and Friendship.  Some concerns, however, still needed to be clarified in informal consultations, he added.

At the close of the meeting, the Committee’s Chairman, Don McKay (New Zealand), noted that the last days of the session -- which was “shaping up to be an extremely productive one” -- were fast approaching.  As in previous sessions, the Committee needed to proceed quickly on the remaining issues, and he urged the delegates to work on outstanding items in a constructive manner.

The Committee will meet again at a date and time to be announced.

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