SECURITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES MISSION IN EAST TIMOR TO CONDUCT 8 AUGUST 'POPULAR CONSULTATION' ON TERRITORY'S STATUS

11 June 1999
SC/6689

SECURITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES MISSION IN EAST TIMOR TO CONDUCT 8 AUGUST 'POPULAR CONSULTATION' ON TERRITORY'S STATUS

11 June 1999

Press ReleaseSC/6689

SECURITY COUNCIL ESTABLISHES MISSION IN EAST TIMOR TO CONDUCT 8 AUGUST 'POPULAR CONSULTATION' ON TERRITORY'S STATUS

19990611

Adopts Resolution 1246 (1999) Unanimously; Ballot to Decide on Special Autonomy or Separation from Indonesia

The Security Council this afternoon decided to establish the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) to organize and conduct a popular consultation, scheduled for 8 August, to determine the Territory's future status, in keeping with the Agreement between Indonesia and Portugal of 5 May, and the Agreements between the United Nations and the two Governments.

Adopting resolution 1246 (1999) unanimously, the Council established UNAMET until 31 August and approved the modalities for the consultation, which will ascertain, on the basis of a direct, secret and universal ballot, whether the East Timorese people accept the proposed constitutional framework providing for a special autonomy for East Timor within the unitary Republic of Indonesia, or reject the proposed special autonomy, leading to East Timor's separation from Indonesia.

Welcoming the Secretary-General's intention to conclude a status-of- mission agreement with the Government of Indonesia as soon as possible and urging the early conclusion of negotiations for a timely deployment of UNAMET, the Council endorsed the Secretary-General's proposal that UNAMET be comprised of political, electoral and information components. The Council also authorized the deployment within UNAMET of up to 280 civilian police officers to act as advisers to the Indonesian Police in the discharge of their duties, and 50 military liaison officers to maintain contact with the Indonesian Armed Forces.

By the resolution, the Council stressed again the responsibility of the Government of Indonesia to maintain peace and security in East Timor to insure the integrity of the consultation and the security of international staff and observers. The Council welcomed, in that regard, the decision by the Government of Indonesia to establish a ministerial team to monitor the popular consultation.

Condemning all acts of violence from whatever quarter and calling for an end to such acts, the Council urged that every effort be made to make the Commission on Peace and Stability operative, stressing in particular the need for the Indonesian authorities to provide protection for members of the Commission in cooperation with UNAMET. The Commission, established on 21 April by representatives of the pro-independence and pro-integration sides, but not yet operational, has been entrusted with elaborating a code of conduct for all parties during the consultation process, ensuring the laying down of arms and disarmament.

The meeting, which began at 12:14 p.m., was adjourned at 12:17 p.m.

Resolution

The full text of Security Council resolution 1246 (1999) reads as follows:

"The Security Council,

"Recalling its previous resolutions on the situation in East Timor, in particular resolution 1236 (1999) of 7 May 1999,

"Recalling the Agreement between Indonesia and Portugal on the question of East Timor of 5 May 1999 (the General Agreement) 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 regarding security arrangements (the Security Agreement) (S/1999/513, annexes I-III),

"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General on the Question of East Timor of 22 May 1999 (S/1999/595),

"Noting with concern the assessment of the Secretary-General contained in that report that the security situation in East Timor remains "extremely tense and volatile",

"Taking note of the pressing need for reconciliation between the various competing factions within East Timor,

"Welcoming the fruitful cooperation of the Government of Indonesia and the local authorities in East Timor with the United Nations,

"Taking note of the letter from the Permanent Representative of Portugal to the United Nations to the President of the Security Council of 7 June 1999 (S/1999/652),

"Welcoming the conclusion of consultations between the Government of Indonesia and the United Nations on the deployment of military liaison officers within the mission established by this resolution,

"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 appointment of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the East Timor Popular Consultation, and reiterating its support for the efforts of the Personal Representative of the Secretary- General for East Timor,

"1. Decides to establish until 31 August 1999 the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) to organize and conduct a popular consultation, scheduled for 8 August 1999, on the basis of a direct, secret and universal ballot, in order to ascertain whether the East Timorese people accept the proposed constitutional framework providing for a special autonomy for East Timor within the unitary Republic of Indonesia or reject the proposed special autonomy for East Timor, leading to East Timor's separation from Indonesia, in accordance with the General Agreement and to enable the Secretary-General to discharge his responsibility under paragraph 3 of the Security Agreement;

"2. Authorizes until 31 August 1999 the deployment within UNAMET of up to 280 civilian police officers to act as advisers to the Indonesian Police in the discharge of their duties and, at the time of the consultation, to supervise the escort of ballot papers and boxes to and from the polling sites;

"3. Authorizes until 31 August 1999 the deployment within UNAMET of 50 military liaison officers to maintain contact with the Indonesian Armed Forces in order to allow the Secretary-General to discharge his responsibilities under the General Agreement and the Security Agreement;

"4. Endorses the Secretary-General's proposal that UNAMET should also incorporate the following components:

(a) a political component responsible for monitoring the fairness of the political environment, for ensuring the freedom of all political and other non-governmental organizations to carry out their activities freely and for monitoring and advising the Special Representative on all matters with political implications,

(b) an electoral component responsible for all activities related to registration and voting,

(c) an information component responsible for explaining to the East Timorese people, in an objective and impartial manner without prejudice to any position or outcome, the terms of the General Agreement and the proposed autonomy framework, for providing information on the process and procedure of the vote and for explaining the implications of a vote in favour or against the proposal;

"5. Notes the intention of the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal to send an equal number of representatives to observe all the operational phases of the consultation process both inside and outside East Timor;

"6. Welcomes the intention of the Secretary-General to conclude with the Government of Indonesia, as soon as possible, a status-of-mission agreement and urges the early conclusion of negotiations with a view to the full and timely deployment of UNAMET;

"7. Calls upon all parties to cooperate with UNAMET in the implementation of its mandate, and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its staff in carrying out that mandate in all areas of East Timor;

"8. Approves the modalities for the implementation of the popular consultation process scheduled for 8 August 1999 as set out in paragraphs 15 to 18 of the report of the Secretary-General of 22 May 1999;

"9. Stresses once again the responsibility of the Government of Indonesia to maintain peace and security in East Timor, in particular in the present security situation referred to in the report of the Secretary-General, 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;

"10. Welcomes in this regard the decision taken by the Government of Indonesia to establish a ministerial team to monitor and ensure the security of the popular consultation in accordance with Article 3 of the General Agreement and paragraph 1 of the Security Agreement;

"11. Condemns all acts of violence from whatever quarter and calls for an end to such acts and the laying down of arms by all armed groups in East Timor, for the necessary steps to achieve disarmament and for further steps in order to ensure a secure environment devoid of violence or other forms of intimidation, which is a prerequisite for the holding of a free and fair ballot in East Timor;

"12. Requests all parties to ensure that conditions exist for the comprehensive implementation of the popular consultation, with the full participation of the East Timorese people; "13. Urges that every effort be made to make the Commission on Peace and Stability operative, and in particular stresses the need for the Indonesian authorities to provide security and personal protection for members of the Commission in cooperation with UNAMET;

"14. Reiterates its request to the Secretary-General to keep the Security Council closely informed of the situation, and to continue to report to it every fourteen days on the implementation of its resolutions and of the Tripartite Agreements and on the security situation in East Timor;

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

Council Work Programme

When the Council met this afternoon to take up the question of East Timor, it had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1999/595), in which he proposes the establishment of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET). The mission will be charged with organizing and conducting a popular consultation to ascertain whether the East Timorese people accept or reject the proposed constitutional framework providing for a special autonomy for East Timor within Indonesia.

The report contains a detailed description of the consultation process to be conducted by the United Nations, as well as recommendations on the mandate, size, structure and budget of the Mission. Other issues addressed include the security situation, the Commission on Peace and Stability and security measures.

According to the report, the Secretary-General dispatched an assessment team to East Timor from 4 to 15 May to: evaluate the political and security situation on the ground; discuss with the Indonesian authorities the facilities available in Dili and elsewhere for the establishment of the mission; and obtain the necessary information to enable the Secretariat to draw up a detailed operational plan for the consultation. There was a very tight time-frame for the operation, resulting from the decision by the parties to set 8 August as the date for the ballot.

Three essential conditions must be met for UNAMET to be effective, states the report. First, it must at all times have the full confidence and backing of the Security Council. Second, it must function with the full cooperation of the Indonesian authorities. Third, it must have the resources necessary to carry out its tasks. Also, UNAMET must enjoy the privileges and immunities, freedom of movement and communication and other facilities necessary for it to perform its tasks. In that regard, a status-of-mission agreement will be concluded with the Indonesian Government as soon as possible.

Further, UNAMET will carry out its tasks objectively and impartially, the report states. Its personnel will neither seek nor accept instructions from any source external to the United Nations. While Jamsheed Marker will continue to serve as the Secretary-General's Personal Representative for East Timor, Ian Martin has been appointed as the Secretary-General's Special Representative for the East Timor Popular Consultation and as Head of UNAMET.

The report goes on to say that the Mission will include political, electoral, civilian police, information and administrative/financial components, the heads of which will report to the Special Representative. Human rights will be integrated in different aspects of the Mission's components. In addition, the Mission will include a small component to monitor humanitarian developments in the Territory and advise the Special Representative on humanitarian issues.

The report also states that, at full deployment, UNAMET will have 241 international staff members and 420 United Nations Volunteers, up to 280 civilian police, as well as some 4,000 local staff. The deployment of UNAMET will begin with the establishment of a headquarters in Dili, to be followed by seven regional centres, with a possible further expansion at the subregional level.

According to the report, to monitor the overall implementation of the three Agreements concluded on 5 May in New York, UNAMET will include a political component, which will be responsible for monitoring the fairness of the political environment and ensuring the freedom of all political and other non-governmental organizations to carry out their activities peacefully. It will monitor and advise the Special Representative on all matters that have political implications for the effective holding of the popular consultation.

The electoral component will be responsible for all activities related to registration and voting, states the report. The external polling will be conducted on behalf of the United Nations by the Australian Election Commission and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). That will be coordinated through the IOM field coordinator, the Electoral Assistance Division of the United Nations Secretariat and the electoral component based in Dili. The Secretary-General will appoint three international experts to serve as members of the Electoral Commission -- an independent body with final decision-making authority, which will be responsible for the overall assessment of the consultation process and for hearing any complaints, challenges or disputes.

The report states that a budget comprising total costs for UNAMET, except those associated with the civilian police component, has been submitted to the General Assembly, and cost estimates for the civilian police and possible military liaison component will be submitted shortly. The Secretary-

General has established a Trust Fund for East Timor, which has been utilized to cover various expenses associated with the launching of the Mission.

The report goes on to say that every effort is being made to deploy the Mission as rapidly as possible. The deployment will occur in phases and will inevitably be dependent upon security conditions in the Territory and, given the logistical challenges and limited infrastructure, on the timely availability of the necessary personnel and other resources. It will also depend on the full cooperation of the Indonesian Government and the local authorities in East Timor. Among the measures which the Indonesian authorities need to take to ensure a free environment for the consultation is the bringing of armed civilian groups under strict control and the prompt arrest and prosecution of those who incite or threaten to use violence.

The Secretary-General hopes that all necessary steps will be taken to improve the security conditions in East Timor, so that the consultation process can move forward in a secure and peaceful atmosphere. With continued close and effective cooperation between the Indonesian authorities and the United Nations, the security situation ought to improve to allow for a peaceful and secure consultation process. To that end, he recommends that every effort be made to make the Commission on Peace and Stability operative.

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For information media. Not an official record.