7 May 1999


Press Release
SC/6672



SECURITY COUNCIL WELCOMES PORTUGUESE, INDONESIAN AGREEMENT ON FUTURE STATUS OF EAST TIMOR

19990507
Resolution 1236 (1999), Adopted Unanimously, Also Welcomes Proposed UN Presence to Aid with 8 August Balloting Process

The Security Council this afternoon welcomed the signing on Wednesday of the agreement between the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal on the future of East Timor and the proposed United Nations presence to help with a popular consultation on the acceptance or rejection of a constitutional framework for autonomy, scheduled for 8 August.

By the terms of resolution 1236 (1999), adopted unanimously, the Council also welcomed the agreements between the United Nations and the two Governments on security arrangements and on the modalities for the direct ballot consultation, as well on the deployment of United Nations civilian police to advise Indonesian police and to supervise the escorting of ballot boxes and papers to and from polling sites.

The Council stressed the importance of having the Secretary-General report the outcome of the consultation -- either autonomy within Indonesia or a transition to independence -- to the Council and the General Assembly, as well as to the East Timorese people and the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal, and of the need for an adequate United Nations presence between the consultation and implementation of its outcome.

It also stressed the responsibility of the Indonesian Government to ensure the safety and security of international staff and observers in East Timor, and to maintain peace and security in East Timor to ensure the consultation is fair and peaceful. The Council also welcomed the Secretary- General's establishment of a trust fund to support the United Nations presence and urged Member States to contribute. It requested the Secretary-General to report on the situation in East Timor by 24 May, at the latest, and every 14 days thereafter on implementation of the resolution and the agreement.

The meeting, which began at 12:17 p.m., adjourned at 12:20 p.m.


Resolution

The full text of the resolution, to the issued as S/RES/1236, reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its previous resolutions on the situation in East Timor,

"Recalling also General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), 1541 (XV) and 2625 (XXV) and the resolutions of the General Assembly on the question of East Timor, in particular resolution 37/30,

"Bearing in mind the sustained efforts of the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal since July 1983, through the good offices of the Secretary- General, to find a just, comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution to the question of East Timor,

"Welcoming the progress made at the last round of talks between the Governments of Portugal and Indonesia, under the auspices of the Secretary- General of the United Nations, leading to the conclusion of a series of agreements in New York on 5 May 1999,

"Commending in particular the efforts of the Personal Representative of the Secretary-General in this regard,

"Taking note of the report of the Secretary-General (S/1999/513),

"Taking note of the concerns expressed in the report of the Secretary- General regarding the security situation in East Timor,

"1. Welcomes the concluding of the Agreement between Indonesia and Portugal on 5 May 1999 on the question of East Timor (the General Agreement) (S/1999/513, Annex I);

"2. Welcomes also the concluding of the Agreements between the United Nations and the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal on the same date regarding security arrangements (S/1999/513, Annex III) and the modalities for the popular consultation of the East Timorese through a direct ballot (S/1999/513, Annex II);

"3. Welcomes further the intention of the Secretary-General to establish as soon as practicable a United Nations presence in East Timor, with a view to assisting in the implementation of these Agreements in particular through:


Security Council - 3 - Press Release SC/6672 3998th Meeting (PM) 7 May 1999

"(a) Conducting a popular consultation of the East Timorese people on the acceptance or rejection of a constitutional framework for an autonomy for East Timor, scheduled for 8 August 1999, in accordance with the General Agreement;

"(b) Making available a number of civilian police officers to act as advisers to the Indonesian Police in the discharge of their duties in East Timor and, at the time of the consultation, to supervise the escort of ballot papers and boxes to and from the polling sites;

"4. Stresses the importance of the requests made to the Secretary- General in the General Agreement to report the result of the popular consultation to the Security Council and the General Assembly, as well as to the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal and the East Timorese people, and, during the interim period between the conclusion of the popular consultation and the start of the implementation of either option, an autonomy within Indonesia or transition to independence, to maintain an adequate United Nations presence in East Timor;

"5. Stresses also the responsibility of the Government of Indonesia to maintain peace and security in East Timor in order to ensure that the consultation is carried out in a fair and peaceful way and in an atmosphere free of intimidation, violence or interference from any side and to ensure the safety and security of United Nations and other international staff and observers in East Timor;

"6. Stresses further the importance of the assistance of the Government of Indonesia in ensuring that the United Nations is able to carry out all the tasks entrusted to it for the implementation of the Agreements;

"7. Welcomes the establishment by the Secretary-General of a Trust Fund to enable Member States to make voluntary contributions to assist in the financing of the United Nations presence in East Timor, and urges all Member States who are in a position to do so to contribute without delay;

"8. Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council closely informed of the situation in East Timor, to report to it as soon as possible, and in any event by 24 May, on the implementation of this resolution and of the Agreements referred to in paragraphs 1 and 2 above, inter alia specifying the detailed modalities of the consultation process, to make detailed recommendations to the Council for decision on the mandate, size, structure and budget of the United Nations Mission, including civilian police officers envisaged in paragraph 3 above, and to report to the Council thereafter every fourteen days;


Security Council - 4 - Press Release SC/6672 3998th Meeting (PM) 7 May 1999

"9. Expresses its intention to take a prompt decision on the establishment of a United Nations Mission on the basis of the report referred to in paragraph 8 above;

"10. Requests the Secretary-General to inform the Council prior to the start of voter registration on whether, on the basis of the objective evaluation of the United Nations Mission, the necessary security situation exists for the peaceful implementation of the consultation process;

"11. Decides to remain seized of the matter."

Secretary-General's Report

As the Council met this afternoon, it had before it the Secretary- General's report on the question of East Timor (document S/1999/513). In it, he reports that since 1983 the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal have undertaken, through the good offices of the Secretary-General, to find a just, comprehensive and internationally acceptable solution to the East Timor question. The culmination of the good offices process was the 5 May signing of an overall Agreement between the two Governments, which entrusts the Secretary-General with organizing a consultation to determine whether the East Timorese accept or reject a proposed constitutional framework for special autonomy within Indonesia. It further requests him to immediately establish a mission to conduct the consultation. The Agreement is attached to the report as Annex I.

The Agreement specifies that, should the autonomy proposal be accepted, Indonesia would act to implement it and Portugal would act to remove East Timor from the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, and the question of East Timor from the Council and the General Assembly agendas. It also states that if the proposal is rejected, Indonesia would take the necessary constitutional steps to terminate its links with East Timor. At the same time, Portugal, Indonesia and the Secretary-General would agree on a transfer of authority to the United Nations, which would then initiate moves to independence. The Agreement also foresees a United Nations presence between the consultation and the implementation of either outcome. Should the autonomy proposal be accepted, it also authorizes a United Nations presence to monitor compliance with the proposal.

Two supplementary agreements -- Annex II and III -- specify, among other things, the modalities of the consultation, security arrangements and 8 August as the date for balloting. The Secretary-General also reports that he has specified the elements that would need to be in place to begin the consultation, including control of armed civilians, arrest of those who incite violence and redeployment of the Indonesian military.

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