Following unrest, UN mission in Timor-Leste extended one month past expiration

12 May 2006 – Following fatal mob violence late last month in Timor-Leste, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations office there (UNOTIL) one month past its 20 May expiration as the world organization considers how to further reinforce the stability of the nascent country.

Through a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-Member Council expressed its deep concern over the incident of 28 and 29 April, in which five people were reported killed and 60 injured after a large portion of the national army was dismissed, and requested Secretary-General Kofi Annan to provide, by 6 June, an update on the situation and on the role of the United Nations following UNOTIL’s departure.

The Council also encouraged the Government of Timor-Leste to address, with UNOTIL’s assistance, the causes of the violence in order to prevent a recurrence.

In what would have been his final report on UNOTIL, Mr. Annan – responding to a request by the Timorese leaders – recommended the establishment of a new UN political presence for one year including an electoral assistance unit, police training advisers, military liaison officers, and civilian advisers in critical areas that require continued assistance.

Experts would also be deployed to monitor and report on the human rights situation leading up presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in 2007.

“Given the considerable investment of the United Nations in Timor-Leste over more than six years, it is in the interest of the international community to assist the country in consolidating the achievements thus far,” Mr. Annan writes in the report, referring to various UN missions that saw the Southeast Asian nation through independence after it voted to break away from Indonesia, which took over the former Portuguese colony in 1975.

“With the provision of assistance through the proposed integrated United Nations office, as has been requested by the Timorese leadership, the Organization can better enable the Government to make further advances in fostering peace, stability and democracy at this critical juncture,” he adds.

UNOTIL itself succeeded the UN Mission of Support in Timor-Leste (UNMISET) last May and the new office was planned to run for one year, beginning on 21 May 2006.

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