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Annan outlines new UN support mission following East Timor's independence

Annan outlines new UN support mission following East Timor's independence

Recognizing the need to sustain the achievements of the past two and a half years in East Timor, Secretary-General Kofi Annan has recommended a continued United Nations presence for two years after the territory's independence in May.

In a report to the Security Council released today at UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General proposes the creation of a UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) to succeed the current UN Transitional Administration (UNTAET), which will conclude its mandate on 20 May when the territory declares its independence.

Outlining UNMISET's mandate and structure, the Secretary-General says the new Mission will focus on the key areas of stability, democracy and justice; internal security and law enforcement; and external security and border control.

To enable UNMISET to provide crucial assistance for the stability of East Timor and the viability of its emergent public administration, Mr. Annan proposes that international experts in a "Civilian Support Group" be assigned to aid their Timorese counterparts in about 100 core functions of government administration as well as the conduct of serious crimes investigations and proceedings.

Meanwhile, the development of a law enforcement agency in East Timor, operating in accordance with international human rights standards, will involve providing executive policing after independence, and support for the development of the East Timor Police Service through "training, co-location and the timely and coordinated handover of responsibilities," Mr. Annan says.

As for the maintenance of external and internal security, the Secretary-General writes that the UN military component will continue to ensure the country's territorial integrity while gradually downsizing and turning over full responsibility to the East Timor Defence Force in June 2004. The Mission will also help in the development of border security and control.

"The UNMISET mandate implementation plan establishes milestones that will allow the Security Council to monitor the achievement of the mission's goals," the Secretary-General observes. "The objectives are realistic and achievable, but they cannot be realized by UNMISET alone. Member States that are in a position to lend the necessary support, and have the means to do so, should demonstrate their continued commitment to this cause."