Annan asks for 1-year extension of UN mission in Timor-Leste

Annan asks for 1-year extension of UN mission in Timor-Leste

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appealed to the Security Council to extend for another year the mandate of the United Nations mission in Timor-Leste, where he says the security environment continues to deteriorate.

In his latest report to the Council released today, Mr. Annan notes that the worsening security situation is the most striking development in East Timor since his previous report of 6 November 2002. The current document describes the activities of the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) since then.

"Much has been achieved in the year that has elapsed since the establishment of UNMISET within an independent Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste," Mr. Annan states. "Building upon the foundations laid during the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, the Timorese public administration and police force are assuming increasing levels of responsibility, with growing confidence."

Earlier this month, the Council unanimously adopted a resolution enhancing UNMISET's capability to address civil disturbances and improve the ability of the police to respond to emerging needs. The decision also endorsed a more decelerated downsizing of the peacekeeping force that had been foreseen when it was established in May 2002.

Mr. Annan appeals to the Council, "to once more demonstrate its commitment to completing the tasks that have been advanced so far in Timor-Leste by extending the mandate of UNMISET for a further year."

Much remains to be done and the support of the international community will be crucial to enable Timor-Leste to successfully confront the serious political, practical and security challenges that lie ahead, the Secretary-General stresses.