15 September 1999


Press Release
SC/6727



SECURITY COUNCIL AUTHORIZES MULTINATIONAL FORCE IN EAST TIMOR

19990915

Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council early this morning authorized the establishment of a multinational force under a unified command structure to restore peace and security in East Timor, to protect and support the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) and to facilitate humanitarian assistance operations there.

As it unanimously adopted resolution 1264 (1999), the Council also authorized the States participating in the multinational force to take all necessary measures to fulfil that mandate. It agreed that the force should be collectively deployed in East Timor until replaced by a United Nations peacekeeping operation. The Secretary-General was invited to make recommendations on such an operation.

The Council also invited the Secretary-General to prepare for a United Nations transitional administration in East Timor, incorporating a peacekeeping operation, to be deployed in the implementation phase of the popular consultation, and to make recommendations to the Council as soon as possible.

Deeply concerned by the deterioration in the security situation in East Timor, the Council condemned all acts of violence there, called for their immediate end and demanded that those responsible for such acts be brought to justice. It stressed the responsibility of the Indonesian authorities to take immediate and effective measures to ensure the safe return of refugees to East Timor.

The Council further underlined the Government of Indonesia’s responsibility to maintain peace and security in East Timor in the interim phase between the conclusion of the popular consultation and the start of the implementation of its result, and to guarantee the security of the personnel and premises of UNAMET.

Welcoming the offers by Member States to organize, lead and contribute to the multinational force, the Council called on Member States to make further contributions of personnel, equipment and other resources. It requested the leadership of the multinational force to provide periodic reports on progress towards the implementation of its mandate, the first report to be made within 14 days of the adoption of today’s resolution.

Stressing that the expenses for the multinational force would be borne by participating Member States, the Council requested the Secretary-General to


Security Council -1a - Press Release SC/6727 4045th Meeting (AM) 15 September1999

establish a trust fund through which contributions could be channelled to the States or operations concerned.

Statements were made by the Foreign Ministers of Portugal, Indonesia and Australia. The representatives of Japan, Finland, on behalf of the European Union and associated countries, and New Zealand also spoke.

The meeting, which began at 2:12 a.m., was adjourned at 2:55 a.m.


Work Programme

The Security Council met this morning to consider the question of East Timor. It had before it the report of the Security Council mission to Jakarta and Dili (document S/1999/976), which accords the “topmost priority” to the grave humanitarian crisis in East Timor.

The mission recommends that the Council: welcome the decision of the Indonesian Government to invite an international peacekeeping force to cooperate with Indonesia in restoring peace and security in East Timor; adopt a resolution without delay to provide a framework for the implementation of such a proposal; consider authorizing an advance party of the international security presence for urgent and essential tasks in and around Dili related to the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) and the provision of humanitarian supplies; and institute an investigation of abuses of international humanitarian law since 4 September.

The mission reached its conclusions and recommendations following discussions with high-level Indonesian Government officials in Jakarta and a tour of the East Timor capitol of Dili. Expressing shock at the destruction in Dili, the loss of confidence in local forces and the desperate state of the displaced population, the mission calls attention to the involvement of large elements of the Indonesian military and police in organizing and backing the violent actions of the militia.

The report states that Indonesian authorities are either unwilling or unable

to provide for the peaceful implementation of the 5 May Agreement. That Agreement

calls for the peaceful and orderly transfer of authority in East Timor to the

United Nations, which would initiate the procedure enabling East Timor to begin the

process of transition towards independence. Further, says the report, the

imposition of martial law on 7 September had not succeeded in stabilizing the

situation and there is strong evidence of abuses of international humanitarian law.

Included in the report is an analysis by UNAMET on the situation there since 4 September. According to the analysis, what has happened “is nothing less than a systematic implementation of a ‘scorched earth’ policy in East Timor, under the direction of the Indonesian military”. The UNAMET analysis describes widespread destruction in Dili and refers to massive forced displacement of the population to refugee camps in West Timor and efforts to permanently displace refugees around Indonesia. Furthermore, it states that the militia and the Indonesian Army are engaging in selective execution of students, intellectuals and activists and are responsible for the disappearance of large groups of people and mass killings in various locations, including Dili and the internally displaced persons camp in the church in Suai.

Also before the Council is a 14 September letter from the Foreign Minister of Australia to the Secretary-General (document S/1999/975) in which the Foreign Minister informs the Secretary-General that Australia would be willing to accept the leadership of a proposed multinational force in East Timor and was prepared to make a substantial contribution to the force itself.

Australia had been active in encouraging a wide range of countries to participate in the force, the Foreign Minister states, and looked forward to working with regional and other countries to help resolve the situation in East Timor and, as an interim measure, to help bring the United Nations mandated tripartite process back on track until such time as a United Nations peacekeeping operation could be deployed.

Draft Resolution

The Council also had before it a draft resolution (document S/1999/977), which reads as follows:

“The Security Council,

“Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President on the situation in East Timor,

“Recalling also the Agreement between Indonesia and Portugal on the question of East Timor of 5 May 1999 and the Agreements between the United Nations and the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal of the same date regarding the modalities for the popular consultation of the East Timorese through a direct ballot and security arrangements (S/1999/513, Annexes I to III),

“Reiterating its welcome for the successful conduct of the popular consultation of the East Timorese people of 30 August 1999 and taking note of its outcome, which it regards as an accurate reflection of the views of the East Timorese people,

“Deeply concerned by the deterioration in the security situation in East Timor, and in particular by the continuing violence against and large-scale displacement and relocation of East Timorese civilians,

“Deeply concerned also at the attacks on the staff and premises of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), on other officials and on international and national humanitarian personnel,

“Recalling the relevant principles contained in the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel adopted on 9 December 1994,

“Appalled by the worsening humanitarian situation in East Timor, particularly as it affects women, children and other vulnerable groups,

“Reaffirming the right of refugees and displaced persons to return in safety and security to their homes,

“Endorsing the report of the Security Council Mission to Jakarta and Dili (S/1999/976),

“Welcoming the statement by the President of Indonesia on 12 September 1999 in which he expressed the readiness of Indonesia to accept an international peacekeeping force through the United Nations in East Timor,

“Welcoming the letter from the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia to the Secretary-General of 14 September 1999 (S/1999/975),

“Reaffirming respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Indonesia,

“Expressing its concern at reports indicating that systematic, widespread and flagrant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law have been committed in East Timor, and stressing that persons committing such violations bear individual responsibility,

“Determining that the present situation in East Timor constitutes a threat to peace and security,

“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1. Condemns all acts of violence in East Timor, calls for their immediate end and demands that those responsible for such acts be brought to justice;

“2. Emphasizes the urgent need for coordinated humanitarian assistance and the importance of allowing full, safe and unimpeded access by humanitarian organizations and calls upon all parties to cooperate with such organizations so as to ensure the protection of civilians at risk, the safe return of refugees and displaced persons and the effective delivery of humanitarian aid;

“3. Authorizes the establishment of a multinational force under a unified command structure, pursuant to the request of the Government of Indonesia conveyed to the Secretary-General on 12 September 1999, with the following tasks: to restore peace and security in East Timor, to protect and support UNAMET in carrying out its tasks and, within force capabilities, to facilitate humanitarian assistance operations, and authorizes the States participating in the multinational force to take all necessary measures to fulfil this mandate;

“4. Welcomes the expressed commitment of the Government of Indonesia to cooperate with the multinational force in all aspects of the implementation of its mandate and looks forward to close coordination between the multinational force and the Government of Indonesia;

“5. Underlines the Government of Indonesia's continuing responsibility under the Agreements of 5 May 1999, taking into account the mandate of the multinational force set out in paragraph 3 above, to maintain peace and security in East Timor in the interim phase between the conclusion of the popular consultation and the start of the implementation of its result and to guarantee the security of the personnel and premises of UNAMET;

“6. Welcomes the offers by Member States to organize, lead and contribute to the multinational force in East Timor, calls on Member States to make further contributions of personnel, equipment and other resources and invites Member States in a position to contribute to inform the leadership of the multinational force and the Secretary-General;

“7. Stresses that it is the responsibility of the Indonesian authorities to take immediate and effective measures to ensure the safe return of refugees to East Timor;

“8. Notes that Article 6 of the Agreement of 5 May 1999 states that the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal and the Secretary-General shall agree on arrangements for a peaceful and orderly transfer of authority in East Timor to the United Nations, and requests the leadership of the multinational force to cooperate closely with the United Nations to assist and support those arrangements;

“9. Stresses that the expenses for the force will be borne by the participating Member States concerned and requests the Secretary-General to establish a trust fund through which contributions could be channelled to the States or operations concerned;

“10. Agrees that the multinational force should collectively be deployed in East Timor until replaced as soon as possible by a United Nations peacekeeping operation, and invites the Secretary-General to make prompt recommendations on a peacekeeping operation to the Security Council;

“11. Invites the Secretary-General to plan and prepare for a United Nations transitional administration in East Timor, incorporating a United Nations peacekeeping operation, to be deployed in the implementation phase of the popular consultation (phase III) and to make recommendations as soon as possible to the Security Council;

“12. Requests the leadership of the multinational force to provide periodic reports on progress towards the implementation of its mandate through the Secretary-General to the Council, the first such report to be made within 14 days of the adoption of this resolution;

“13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

Action on Draft

The Council voted unanimously to adopt resolution 1264 (1999)

Statements

JAIME GAMA, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal, said the security and humanitarian conditions in East Timor had not improved and there had been alarming reports of continued brutality, of violence against refugees and internally displaced persons, of major food and medicine shortages. The UNAMET had been forced to withdraw from its headquarters. Those events were completely unacceptable and were hard evidence of Indonesia's inability to maintain peace and stability in the Territory.

He said the multinational force would have to respond to the shocking situation on the ground and that must be the sole precondition for its structure and composition. It was the responsibility of the international community to ensure that the will of the East Timorese people would be respected without any additional suffering. He urged Indonesia to cooperate fully. Portugal stood ready to participate in the multinational force. It was also prepared to deploy a significant aid operation and was ready to arrive in Dili as soon as adequate security conditions were met.

He said he was encouraged by the announcement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the President of Indonesia accepted her proposal to set up a joint commission of inquiry on human rights violations. Those endeavours must be thoroughly pursued.

ALI ALATAS, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, said that following the visit of the Indonesian Armed Forces Commander, General Wiranto, to East Timor, the Indonesian Government came to the conclusion that it was now the appropriate time to request the United Nations for cooperation on dealing with the security situation in East Timor. As President B.J. Habibie had said in an address to the nation, "Too many people have lost their lives since the beginning of the unrest, lost their homes and security. We cannot wait longer. We have to stop the suffering and mourning immediately."

In a spirit of cooperation and flexibility, the Indonesian Government had placed no conditions on the multinational force to be deployed in East Timor, he continued. However, there were several details that were being worked out between Indonesia and the United Nations at the present time. Those concerned, in particular, clarifications regarding the deployment of the multinational force, including its composition and its command structure, as well as the modalities of cooperation defining the respective duties and responsibilities of the Indonesian defence forces and the multinational force. Indonesia's main objective was to further enhance the effectiveness of the common effort to restore peace and security in East Timor as quickly as possible. He assured the Council that adequate measures would be taken for the safety and security of those rendering humanitarian aid.

He said that countries in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region were uniquely placed to serve in the multinational force, as they, more than any other countries, understood the regional characteristics, dimensions and sensitivities of the problem. Particular consideration should, therefore, be given to ASEAN countries' participation in the composition of such a multinational force. It was also imperative that the multinational force conduct itself in an impartial manner, so that its presence in East Timor would be credible. It should endeavour to earn the confidence of the conflicting parties, while ensuring that its actions did not further exacerbate an already difficult situation. Indonesia, for its part, would extend its cooperation to facilitate the task entrusted to the multinational force, he said.

ALEXANDER DOWNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, said that at the Secretary-General's request, Australia was willing to accept the leadership of the multinational force. It looked forward to working with regional and other countries to build a genuinely multinational force that would help bring the United Nations mandated tripartite process back on track, until such time as a United Nations peacekeeping operation could be deployed.

It was important that the multinational force be deployed quickly, he said. Australia was working with other contributors to ensure the earliest possible arrival of the force. He encouraged other Member States that were in a position to do so to contribute generously to the Trust Fund being established to facilitate participation in the force by a wide range of countries.

Australia was also ready to assist in providing urgent humanitarian assistance, he said. It was also willing to assist in the process of a peaceful reconciliation among the East Timorese people.

MARJATTA RASI (Finland) spoke on behalf of the European Union, and the associated countries of Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Malta, as well as the EFTA countries members of the EEA, Iceland and Lithuania. She said Indonesia's commitment to the full implementation of the 5 May Agreement was imperative.

She condemned the acts of terror in East Timor which had been perpetrated with the complicity of the Indonesian armed forces and police and said the Government of Indonesia remained responsible for law and order in the Territory. She looked forward to the immediate deployment of the international force and welcomed the early Council decision to enable the rapid deployment of an international presence.

She said that the European Union's Foreign Ministers had agreed for a period of months, on an embargo on the export of arms, munitions and military equipment, a ban on the supply of equipment that might be used for internal repression or terrorism and a suspension of bilateral military cooperation. It would decide, in light of the situation after that period, on a possible further suspension.

Stressing that an urgent priority was to remedy the grave humanitarian situation, she urged the Indonesian Government to take no action that would further endanger the lives of the internally displaced persons in East Timor. She also called on the Indonesian Government to allow the safe return of international humanitarian organizations and agencies to East Timor without delay.

YUKIO SATOH (Japan) said Japan strongly deplored the deterioration of the security situation and the grave humanitarian crisis that had occurred in East Timor after the result of the popular consultation was announced. The international community must cooperate in organizing and deploying the necessary forces as quickly as possible.

He said that it was clear that the resolution was but the first step in the difficult and complex process of restoring peace and order in East Timor and implementing the result of the popular consultation of 30 August. The task confronting the multinational force would by no means be easy and it was absolutely essential that the Indonesian authorities extend them their full cooperation.

He said the immediate task in East Timor was three-fold. First, law and order in East Timor had to be quickly restored. All acts of violence must end immediately and the forced displacement of people to West Timor must cease immediately. Another task was to ensure an appropriate environment in which the UNAMET staff could return to East Timor and the mission could resume its operations. Finally, an environment in which humanitarian activities could be safely carried out must be established, so that assistance could be extended to those who had been the victims of violence and whose homes and property had been destroyed.

MICHAEL POWLES (New Zealand) said his country would be among the earliest participants, with others from the region, in the deployment of a multinational force to East Timor. Speed was of the essence in view of the gravity of the humanitarian situation there.

He said cooperation from all arms of the Indonesian Government would be critical to the success of the operation authorized tonight and he welcomed Indonesia’s pledges of full cooperation in dealing with the crisis. New Zealand was among those countries that had urged Indonesia to invite an international peacekeeping presence and had done so as a friend and regional partner.

He said he wanted to place on the record New Zealand’s expectation of the early replacement of the multinational force by a United Nations peacekeeping operation, as envisaged in the resolution.

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