East Timor: head of UN mission pledges security for upcoming elections
In a three-hour question-and-answer session before the National Council, Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, said UNTAET would do what it takes to prevent individuals or "groups of a small minority" from subverting law and order during the electoral campaign.
"I know that is your major concern," he stressed. "Security is our highest priority."
Today's session followed Mr. Vieira de Mello's State of the Nation address before the National Council on 28 June. Council members' questions covered a wide range of issues, from the election process, security and the transition to independence, to education policy, prison management, labour rights and the isolation of Oecussi enclave.
Mr. Vieira de Mello informed the Council that a special assessment team was recently formed to evaluate the security situation in the districts of Dili, Baucau, Same and Viqueque, and the border area between Aileu and Ermera. The team, which has already started its work, includes UN peacekeepers and civilian police, as well as members of the East Timor Defence Force, the East Timor Police Service and civilians from the Political Affairs and Justice Departments.
The National Council will be officially dissolved on 15 July, the start of the election campaign. A ceremony will be held on Saturday, when the Mr. Vieira de Mello and the Speaker of the Council, Manuel Carrascalão, will address the members and the public.