UN transitional administrator leaves East Timor, as head of new UN mission takes over

UN transitional administrator leaves East Timor, as head of new UN mission takes over

The man who served as the United Nations transitional administrator in East Timor for two and half years leading up to the territory's independence left the island nation today as a senior Indian diplomat took over as the head of a follow-up UN mission.

Sergio Vieira de Mello, who arrived in the devastated territory in November 1999 to lead the UN Transitional Administration Mission in East Timor (UNTAET), was seen off by his closest staff at a simple farewell ceremony at Dili's Comoro Airport.

Kamalesh Sharma, formerly India's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, succeeds Mr. Vieira de Mello as Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative and head of the new UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET).

Last week, the Security Council formally established UNMISET for a 12-month period starting on 20 May to provide assistance to core administrative structures critical to the viability and political stability of East Timor.

The Mission will also provide interim law enforcement and public security, assist in developing the East Timor Police Service (ETPS) and contribute to the maintenance of the new country's external and internal security.