The flag was lowered for the last time yesterday over the United Nations Tajikistan Office of Peace Building (UNTOP), ending the world body’s 15-year political presence in the Central Asian country, first to help halt a civil war that killed over 50,000 people and then to further the consolidation of peace.
At the ceremony in Dushanbe, the capital, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Representative Vladimir Sotirov highlighted UNTOP’s accomplishments in strengthening national dialogue, helping to build democratic institutions, and in promoting respect for human rights in the former Soviet republic of some 6 million people.
He also recalled the ultimate sacrifice of five UN staff members who were killed while working there for the cause of peace.
In addition, Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi thanked the UN for its commitment to his country.
In a recent statement marking the 10th anniversary of peace in Tajikistan, Mr. Ban called UNTOP a successful illustration of the UN working with the Tajik people and the guarantor countries, adding that the past decade had shown that “there is no viable alternative to the road of peace and national reconciliation.”
UNTOP was established in May 2000 following the successful completion of the UN Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT), which monitored the ceasefire between the Government and the opposition as well as the implementation of their peace agreement.