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  III. ASIA-PACIFIC PEACE OPERATIONS

 

PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS

 

Timor-Leste – UNMISET

 

Since independence in May 2002, the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste has been strengthening its institutions and national security, with assistance from the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) and United Nations programmes. The civil administration and police force have progressively assumed greater responsibility for managing day-to-day affairs in their respective areas. However, after violent attacks by armed elements in January and February, the Security Council decided that the schedule for downsizing UNMISET’s police and military components had to be slowed.

 

Until its mandate ends in May 2004, the Mission will continue working to transfer skills and authority to the Government of Timor-Leste. It will also assess the country’s future needs for international assistance and ways to secure the investments the international community has made to date.

 

India and Pakistan - UNMOGIP

 

The United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) continued to monitor and report on the ceasefire agreed between India and Pakistan in the State of Jammu and Kashmir in 1949.During the year, confidence- building measures were under discussion by the two countries, including the restoration of rail, road and air links. In late November, the lapsed ceasefire was effectively renewed. Deployed since 1949, the Observer Group consists of 45 unarmed military observers.

 

POLITICAL MISSIONS AND PEACEBUILDING SUPPORT OFFICES

 

Afghanistan – UNAMA

 

The political timetable established in December 2001 by the Bonn Agreement on Provisional Arrangements in Afghanistan Pending the Re-establishment of Permanent Government Insitutions has for the most part been kept: an Interim Authority was established that same month; an emergency Loyal Jirga of some 1,500 delegates met in June 2002 to form the Transitional Administration of President Hamid Karzai. And in December 2003, the Constitutional Loyal Jirga concluded successfully.

 

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and other United Nations entities provided critical support to the Transitional Administration’s efforts to consolidate the peace process.The Afghan administration oversaw some significant accomplishments, including the articulation of a National Development Framework and the National Budget, the adoption of a new national currency, the first steps in the formation of a National Army and a National Police, the start of the reform of the Ministry of Defence (to become nationally representative) which in turn enabled the commencement of the pilot phase of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) programme, and the return to school of some 4 million boys and girls. The Independent Human Rights Commission established a presence throughout the country and the groundwork was laid for a number of key national reconstruction and development programmes.

 

Preparations for national elections, called for in the Bonn Agreement, also continued, and UNAMA is expected to provide assistance to the Transitional Administration throughout the process.The Mission established an electoral component to assist the Interim Afghan Electoral Commission conduct the electoral process. Notwithstanding this progress, the threat that factional forces posed to the peace process was increasingly compounded by the terrorist tactics of extremists.The pattern continued to challenge the central government’s authority, slow the pace of reconstruction and disrupt the peace process.A series of attacks confirmed that the United Nations had become a target: in November, a car bomb exploded outside United Nations offices in Kandahar; a staff member from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees was murdered in Ghazni Province, and bombs were placed against the wall of a UNAMA guesthouse in Kabul.The United Nations implemented additional safety measures for its staff including the suspension of some of its operations, largely in the south, south-east and east of the country.

 

In October, to help stabilize the security situation and allow the extension of the Government’s authority throughout the country, the Security Council authorized the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to deploy beyond Kabul.

 

Bougainville – UNPOB

 

Significant progress was made in the implementation of the 2001 Bougainville Peace Agreement between the Government of Papua New Guinea and the Bougainville parties.

 

One major precondition for the implementation of constitutional amendments to open the way for the election of an autonomous Bougainville government had been the complete disposal of arms by former combatants of the Bougainville Revolutionary Army and the Resistance Force, under monitoring by the United Nations Observer Mission on Bougainville (UNOMB).

 

In July, the United Nations Political Office in Bougainville (UNPOB) verified and certified the completion of Stage II of the agreed-upon Weapons Disposal Plan which provided for the containment of the weapons collected. In December, the parties decided to destroy the contained weapons.

 

On 23 December, the Security Council supported the recommendation of the Secretary-General to establish a successor to UNPOB, the United Nations Observer Mission in Bougainville (UNOMB).The Observer Mission was established to finish residual tasks of UNPOB and to facilitate the efforts of the parties in the transitional period leading to elections.

 

Tajikistan – UNTOP

 

The United Nations Tajikistan Office of Peace-building (UNTOP) continued to work closely with the parties to the 1997 General Agreement on the Establishment of Peace and National Accord. The Office focused on consolidating peace and national reconciliation in a number of ways, including promoting the rule of law, strengthening democratic institutions and building national capacity in the area of human rights.The Office also supported the social integration of ex-combatants by providing assistance for vocational training. UNTOP will continue to support to peace-building efforts, which should lead to the holding of free and fair elections in 2005.

 

Other conflict prevention and peacemaking activities

 

Responding to tensions in the Korean peninsula, the Secretary-General dispatched his Personal Envoy to Pyongyang to prepare the way for a negotiated settlement in the peninsula and to prevent a humanitarian disaster there. In addition, the United Nations actively supported the multilateral diplomatic process, launched in April in Beijing to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.The United Nations also continued to facilitate national reconciliation and democratization in Myanmar and support peace processes in Sri Lanka and Nepal through reconstruction and development assistance.

 

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