UN Security Council On East Timor
27 August 1999
SECURITY COUNCIL ADOPTS RESOLUTION EXTENDING MANDATE OF UN MISSION IN EAST TIMOR UNTIL 30 NOVEMBER
Council Members, in Presidential Statement, Say Popular Consultation Of 30 August Is Historic Opportunity to Resolve East Timor Question Peacefully
The Security Council this morning extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) until 30 November in an adjusted format, expanding its civilian police and military liaison components, in anticipation of the next phase of the United Nations presence in East Timor, after the popular consultation that will take place next Monday, 30 August.
By its unanimous adoption of resolution 1262 (1999), the Council endorsed proposals of the Secretary-General to increase the Mission's civilian police component to up to 460 personnel - - to continue to advise the Indonesian police and to prepare for the recruitment and training of the new East Timorese police force. The military liaison component will be increased to up to 300 personnel -- to undertake the necessary military liaison functions, to continue to be involved in the work of the East Timorese bodies established to promote peace, stability and reconciliation, and to provide advice to the Special Representative for the East Timor popular consultation on security matters.
The resolution also provides for adjustments on the civil affairs component to advise the Special Representative for the East Timor popular consultation in monitoring the implementation of the 5 May Agreement, and on the public information component - - to provide information on progress made towards implementation of the outcome of the ballot, and to disseminate a message promoting reconciliation, confidence, peace and stability.
Calling 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, the Council recalled the continuing responsibility of Indonesia 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.
Security Council - 1a - Press Release SC/6717 4038th Meeting (AM) 27 August 1999
Following the adoption of the resolution, the Council President, Martin Andjaba (Namibia), read a statement on behalf of Council members stressing that the popular consultation of the East Timorese people on 30 August represents a historic opportunity to resolve the question of East Timor peacefully. He also expressed Council member's hope that the people of East Timor would respect the outcome of the consultation and work together to build a peaceful and prosperous future.
Statements were made by the representatives of Portugal, Indonesia, Australia, Finland (on behalf of the European Union), New Zealand and Republic of Korea.
The meeting was called to order at 10:21 a.m. and adjourned at 11:25 a.m.
Security Council - 2 - Press Release SC/6717 4038th Meeting (AM) 27 August 1999
Council Work Programme
The Security Council met this morning to consider the question of East Timor. It had before it a report of the Secretary-General (document S/1999/862) containing recommendations regarding the presence of the United Nations in East Timor during the interim phase between the conclusion of the popular consultation, scheduled for 30 August, and the start of the implementation of its result, and requesting the Council to authorize their implementation for an initial period of three months from the date of the popular consultation.
The report recalls that by its resolution 1246 (1999) the Council established the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) with a mandate to organize and conduct a popular consultation. The United Nations was authorized to operate in East Timor throughout the consultation process, which ends by the announcement of its results. However, in accordance with the Agreement between Indonesia and Portugal on the question of East Timor signed on 5 May, the United Nations was required to play a substantive role in East Timor in the post-ballot period.
The report also recalls that the 5 May Agreement provides for the United Nations to play a significant role in the implementation of either possible result of the consultation. Should the East Timorese vote to accept autonomy, the constitutional framework for a special autonomy gives the Secretary-General the responsibility and the authority to monitor and verify the implementation of autonomy for East Timor and to establish such offices as are deemed necessary to do so in the Special Autonomous Region of East Timor (SARET). Additionally, the autonomy framework requires the Secretary-General to appoint a broadly representative Transitional Council, which would remain in place until the election of the Regional Council of People's Representatives of the SARET, which the Secretary-General is called upon to monitor and verify.
Should the consultation result in a rejection of autonomy, the report goes on, the 5 May Agreement provides that Indonesia, Portugal and the Secretary-General shall reach agreement on arrangements for the peaceful and orderly transfer of authority in East Timor to the United Nations. The Secretary-General shall then, subject to the appropriate legislative mandate, initiate the procedure enabling East Timor to begin a process of transition towards independence.
There will be an interim phase between the conclusion of the popular consultation and the start of the implementation of its result, during which the parties will undertake the necessary steps, legal and otherwise, for implementation to begin, the report goes on. In the 5 May Agreement, the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal requested the Secretary-General to maintain an adequate United Nations presence in East Timor during this period, regardless of whether autonomy is accepted or rejected in the popular consultation.
The Secretary-General notes that during this interim phase, the situation in East Timor will be rather delicate as the Territory prepares for the implementation of the result of the popular consultation, whichever it may be. Thus the United Nations efforts must be redoubled following the ballot to build confidence and support stability in the Territory and reassure all groups, in particular those who were in the minority in the ballot, that they have a role to play in the future political life of East Timor.
In order to do this, the United Nations should be closely involved in the work of East Timorese bodies, the report states. The establishment of an interim representative council, and subsequently an elected representative council, foreseen in the special autonomy proposal, would also be highly desirable if autonomy is rejected. It would be highly desirable if this body could be established before or immediately following the ballot. The United Nations will also liaise with and advise the Indonesian authorities and maintain close contact with pro-integration and pro-independence groups.
The report stresses that these tasks would be the same under either ballot outcome, adding that a further important task for the United Nations during the interim phase will be to prepare to adjust its role for the implementation of either option.
In order to accomplish these tasks, the Secretary-General proposes that UNAMET continue through the post-ballot period until the implementation phase of the result, and that its tasks and structure be adjusted. One aim of these adjustments would be to ensure a United Nations presence in all 13 regencies (districts) of East Timor.
Concerning the electoral component, the Secretary-General says it would be temporarily reduced to a unit that would plan and prepare for the monitoring of the election of the Regional Council, which is foreseen in the autonomy plan or for elections that will take place if autonomy is rejected. The unit will also assist in developing an appropriate legal framework, institutions and technical capacity for elections in either scenario.
The police component, he says, would be increased to 410 to enable it to operate in all 13 regencies (districts). It would continue to advise the Indonesian police. It would be augmented by a small team to prepare for the recruitment and training of a new East Timorese police force, a requirement in both scenarios. The training personnel would eventually number about 50, bringing the overall strength of the police component to close to 460.
The military liaison component would be increased to 300 to enhance its capacity to cover all areas, the report states. It would continue to be deployed in all 13 districts. United Nations military liaison officers would liaise with the Indonesian armed forces, pro-integration militias and Falintil. They would also be in a position to advise on security matters as required, including efforts aimed at the disarmament of Falintil and the militias and the redeployment of the Indonesian armed forces and, as agreed by the parties, to monitor their implementation.
According to the report, in order to continue to advise and assist the Special Representative for the East Timor popular consultation in monitoring the implementation of the 5 May Agreement, fostering reconciliation among East Timorese and maintaining liaison with the Indonesian authorities and other actors on the ground, the civil affairs component, hitherto the political component, would continue to monitor political and other developments in East Timor and their impact on the maintenance of political stability. The component will also assist the Special Representative for the East Timor Popular Consultation in the formation and development of a Representative Council, which will be necessary under either outcome.
Further, that component will also assist in promoting respect for the rule of law and human rights and will cooperate with the Government, relevant national institutions, non- governmental organization (NGOs) and other international and local partners to this end. Some additional humanitarian staff will be needed to coordinate the provision of humanitarian assistance, including assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as to ensure timely contingency planning for potential humanitarian problems in the post-ballot period. To perform the tasks of the component, civil affairs officers will also be stationed in the 13 regencies (districts). The component's staff would be augmented accordingly.
Under either outcome, UNAMET will continue to require a public information capacity, including access to the media, the report states. During the post-ballot phase, it will be especially important to keep the people of East Timor and the international community informed of the progress made towards the implementation of the outcome, as well as disseminating a message promoting reconciliation, confidence, and peace and stability.
During the interim period, the Indonesian authorities will continue to be fully responsible for the maintenance of law and order, specifically the police, as affirmed by the 5 May Agreement, the report states. The Secretary-General states: "I trust that Indonesia will take all steps necessary to discharge this responsibility effectively during this particularly delicate phase. As previously reported, cooperation between UNAMET and the Indonesian Task Force in Dili has been good. I trust that this will continue to be the case in the post-ballot phase."
The report recalls that the General Assembly, in resolution 53/240 of 29 June, appropriated an amount of $52,531,100 gross for UNAMET for the period from 5 May through 31 August. It adds that cost estimates for the extension of UNAMET for the three-month period and the adjustments proposed in the present report will be submitted to the General Assembly shortly.
In concluding, the Secretary-General states that the Agreement of 5 May constitutes a historic opportunity for the people of East Timor to shape the future of the Territory. Following the popular consultation, it will be the shared responsibility of the parties to the 5 May Agreement, the United Nations, the international community and indeed the people of East Timor to capitalize upon this opportunity and bring to a successful conclusion the long-standing issue of East Timor. For its part, UNAMET will do its utmost to fulfil its responsibility impartially and effectively. In turn, the parties to the 5 May Agreement will have to undertake the necessary steps, legal and otherwise, to fulfil their commitments to implement the result of the ballot in an orderly manner.
Also before the Council was a draft resolution (document S/1999/904*) reading as follows:
"The Security Council,
"Recalling its previous resolutions on the situation in East Timor, in particular resolution 1246 (1999) of 11 June 1999 and resolution 1257 (1999) of 3 August 1999,
"Recalling 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-III),
"Welcoming the report of the Secretary-General of 9 August 1999 (S/1999/862),
"Taking note of the need for the United Nations to pursue its efforts in East Timor in the period following the ballot to build confidence and support stability and to reassure all groups, in particular those in the minority in the ballot, that they have a role to play in the future political life of East Timor,
"Welcoming the proposal of the Secretary-General that the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) continue its operations in the interim phase between the conclusion of the popular consultation and the start of the implementation of its result and that its tasks and structure be adjusted accordingly, "Commending UNAMET for the impartial and effective implementation of its mandate and welcoming the confirmation in the report of the Secretary-General that the Mission will continue to do its utmost to fulfil its responsibility in this manner,
"Welcoming the fruitful cooperation of the Government of Indonesia with the United Nations,
"1. Decides to extend the mandate of UNAMET until 30 November 1999 and endorses the proposal of the Secretary-General that in the interim phase UNAMET should incorporate the following components:
"(a) an electoral unit as set out in the report of the Secretary-General,
"(b) a civilian police component of up to 460 personnel to continue to advise the Indonesian police and to prepare for the recruitment and training of the new East Timorese police force,
"(c) a military liaison component of up to 300 personnel as set out in the report of the Secretary-General to undertake the necessary military liaison functions, to continue to be involved in the work of the East Timorese bodies established to promote peace, stability and reconciliation, and to provide advice to the Special Representative for the East Timor popular consultation on security matters as required, pursuant to the implementation of the Agreements of 5 May 1999,
"(d) a civil affairs component to advise the Special Representative for the East Timor popular consultation in monitoring the implementation of the Agreements of 5 May 1999 as set out in the report of the Secretary-General,
"(e) a public information component to provide information on progress made towards implementation of the outcome of the ballot, and to disseminate a message promoting reconciliation, confidence, peace and stability;
"2. 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;
"3. Recalls the continuing responsibility of Indonesia to maintain peace and security in East Timor in the interim phase;
"4. Decides to remain seized of the matter."
ANTONIO MONTEIRO (Portugal), aligning himself with the statement of the European Union, said that the prevailing environment of intimidation, violence and insecurity in the Territory was hampering the very aim of the 5 May Agreement -- the holding of a free and fair ballot. Portugal was gravely concerned that on the eve of the consultation, armed militias were still active in the Territory and that most of their criminal actions were not being properly investigated or punished. There had been increased fear and a situation where many people in favour of independence were either prevented from participating in the campaign or subjected to physical violence and intimidation. International personnel, and even UNAMET staff, had not been spared that atmosphere of threat and insecurity.
Under the 5 May Agreement, it was Indonesia's sole responsibility to maintain peace and security in East Timor, he said. Yesterday's events in the Territory had been evidence that the measures taken so far were completely inadequate and insufficient. Such an increase in violence and even loss of human life so close to the consultation was inadmissible. It was hoped that Indonesia would answer the statements issued yesterday by the Security Council and by the Secretary-General strongly condemning those events and demanding that the Indonesian authorities take concrete steps to reverse the situation.
He said that overcoming their differences and living together peacefully after the consultation was the biggest challenge facing the East Timorese. The full participation of the leader of the pro-integration movement and of the head of the CNRT, Xanana Gusmao, in the first meeting of the East Timorese Consultative Commission, to take place in Dili the day after the ballot, would send an important signal of confidence in the future of East Timor.
Bearing in mind Mr. Gusmao's role in promoting peace and reconciliation, recognized by all parties and by the international community, his presence in Dili would have a stabilizing effect, he said. Portugal reiterated its appeal that the Indonesian Government release Mr. Gusmao and all other East Timorese political prisoners, and allow access to the territory by CNRT leaders residing abroad.
MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia) said that the East Timorese question had reached the current stage due to a series of bold and far-reaching initiatives by his Government under President B.J. Habibie. The present meeting of the Security Council was being convened against the backdrop of the approaching crucial interim phase. It constituted an important period between the finalization of the holding of the popular consultation and the commencement of the implementation of the outcome.
He said his Government was determined to shoulder its responsibilities in accordance with the 5 May Agreement. In particular, it had exerted serious efforts to ensure that the security situation was conducive to the holding of a free, fair and peaceful popular consultation. That had been evident by the successful conclusion of the registration process held from 16 July to 6 August. It was pertinent to note that the process was held in an orderly manner, as acknowledged by UNAMET, which registered over 451,792 East Timorese -- including internally displaced East and West Timorese -- at 200 registration centres.
He said that as 30 August approached, the situation on the ground had recorded remarkable improvements. The Indonesian Government had deployed some 8,000 police personnel to assure peace both before the popular consultation as well as after its conclusion. While it was unfortunate that some incidents, attributable to both sides, had occurred in certain places, in each instance the Indonesian police acted promptly to isolate them while carrying out the necessary investigations. The allegations of "impunity" with respect to the Maliana and Liquiça incidents had been dealt with by the taking of stern judicial actions against the perpetrators. The impartiality of the police in investigating all cases referred to by UNAMET, whether they were committed by the pro-integration or the pro-independence groups, had instilled trust in the professional abilities of the police.
He said the adoption of the Code of Conduct for the Campaign by UNAMET in line with the 5 May Agreement to ensure an orderly campaign was also an encouraging factor. Similarly, the steps towards the implementation of the Code of Conduct on Security by the Commission for Peace and Stability to ensure the laying down of arms and disarmament by the contending factions was a welcome development. It was pertinent to note that over 600 weapons had been turned over under the Commission's supervision and witnessed by UNAMET. Furthermore, the status-of-mission agreement had been signed by the Indonesian Government and came into effect on 23 August. That contained provisions granting various privileges and immunities for the functioning of UNAMET, providing necessary facilities, as well as highlighting the need for UNAMET to carry out its duties in compliance with the laws and regulations of Indonesia, while refraining from the activities that were incompatible with its duties.
He said it would be most helpful to the East Timorese as well as to Indonesia and the international community if distortion of facts were avoided. It was unfortunate that misperceptions continued to be cultivated. Examples of that were: the majority of East Timorese were still living under colonial domination and, given the chance, they would opt to part ways with Indonesia: or on the other hand, East Timorese who had expressed their wish to remain part of Indonesia were immediately and arbitrarily condemned as "military-backed" militias. Such distortions were completely contrary to the practices of democracy where tolerance as well as freedom of opinion and expression were of paramount importance. The fact remained that there were two groups in East Timor and none could or should be dismissed out of hand.
PENNY WENSLEY (Australia) said Australia supported fully the steps taken in today's resolution to restructure UNAMET in the interim phase following the 30 August consultation. A key United Nations responsibility, irrespective of the result, would be to build confidence, support, stability and to reassure all groups - - including those who were disappointed by the results. Australia was very conscious that a difficult time lied ahead, both in the days remaining to the ballot, on the ballot day itself and the period after the vote.
The violent clashes which occurred in Dili on 26 August were a matter of serious concern and the Australian Government forcefully condemned such acts, she said. In recent days, the Australian Government had, at the highest levels, again emphasized to the Government of Indonesia that ensuring security in East Timor remained its responsibility, and had urged the Government of Indonesia to take the necessary steps to restore law and order in East Timor.
There was a pressing need for reconciliation between the factions in East Timor if the process that had been embarked upon on 5 May was to lead to a peaceful and lasting resolution of the East Timor conflict, she said. Australia urged all parties to make the utmost efforts towards that end, and remained committed to assisting all genuine reconciliation efforts among the East Timorese.
MARJATTA RASI (Finland), speaking on behalf of the European Union, said the Union reiterated its strong support for the consultation process and was sending a number of observers to the consultation. The Presidency had appointed the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland as its personal representative for those matters. The European Union continued to be deeply concerned about the situation in the Territory, in particular the intimidatory behaviour of the pro-integration militias, which numerous independent observers have linked to elements of the Indonesian Army.
The European Union was particularly disturbed by the violence in Dili on 26 August, she said, and recalled its position that the Indonesian Government remains obliged to maintain and preserve security, stability and public order in East Timor, to disarm and hold accountable the perpetrators of the killings whether or not they advocate autonomy or independence.
She said a point of grave concern was the future of Xanana Gusmao. It was the European Union's view that his immediate release, as well as that of all East Timorese political prisoners, was an essential factor for the success of the consultation process. Given that Mr. Gusmao was a member of the Commission on Peace and Stability, he should be allowed to participate fully in its activities.
MICHAEL POWLES (New Zealand) welcomed the decision of the Security Council on the interim phase of its operation in East Timor and said that there could be no "cooling off" period for UNAMET. Today's decision underlined the continuing commitment of the United Nations to the process, until the Indonesian Parliament was able to give effect to the outcome of the popular consultation, whatever that may be. During the interim phase immediately following the ballot, UNAMET would face a range of tasks, and its structure had to reflect those new demands. New Zealand welcomed the revised composition of UNAMET set out in today's resolution. It would be increasing the number of New Zealand Defence Force military liaison officers from five to 10, and the number of civilian police officers from 10 to 15.
The future of East Timor now lay with the East Timorese, he continued. The United Nations needed to continue to reassure all groups that they would have a role to play in the political life of East Timor after the ballot. Work towards reconciliation and the establishment of confidence between all groups would be critical. It would also be very important to get clear, public and ongoing commitments from leaders of both the pro-autonomy and pro-independence sides to respect the outcome in all parts of East Timor. He believed that it was possible for both sides to accept the ballot result without resorting to violence. Those who were predicting bloodshed also had in their power the ability to prevent such an outcome.
There was no hiding the fact that the requirement for ensuring a secure environment devoid of violence or other forms of intimidation as a prerequisite for the holding of a free and fair ballot had not been fully met, he said. There had been an upsurge in violence by pro-autonomy militia and a disturbing number of attacks directed specifically at UNAMET staff, facilities and residences. He urged Indonesia, particularly the military authorities in Indonesia, to redouble their efforts to ensure security and calm in the run-up to the ballot and the period thereafter.
New Zealand's views on the importance of adequate funding for such Council-mandated operations as UNAMET were also familiar, he said. The United Nations capacity to bring peace and security in areas of conflict was significantly influenced by decisions on funding. His country had recognized from the outset the importance of Article 17 of the Charter and the obligations flowing from it. Ad hoc voluntary arrangements could be no credible or reliable substitute.
LEE SEE-YOUNG (Republic of Korea) said that today's adoption of resolution 1262 (1999) marked another important step in making the transition to the second phase beyond the popular consultation on 30 August. It was now incumbent upon the parties directly concerned to ensure that the transition process took place in an uninterrupted and efficient manner.
While the successful completion of the registration was highly commendable, many daunting tasks still lay ahead, he said. Close coordination would remain the key to accomplishing them. The Republic of Korea had full confidence in the commitment and capability of the Indonesian Government and people to discharge their primary responsibility for the maintenance of law and order in East Timor.
He expressed the hope that the Security Council would make it a rule to hold open debates on operational issues involving non-Council members early in its deliberations and preferably before decision-making rather than towards the end of the process.
Action on Draft Resolution
The draft resolution contained in document S/1999/904* was unanimously adopted as Council resolution 1262 (1999).
Following the text's adoption the Council President, MARTIN ANDJABA (Namibia), read the following statement on behalf of Council members:
"On the eve of the ballot, the members of the Security Council wish me to affirm their view, set out in S/PRST/1999/20, that the popular consultation of the East Timorese people on 30 August represents an historic opportunity to resolve the question of East Timor peacefully. The people of East Timor have a unique opportunity to decide their own future. Whatever the outcome of the consultation, members of the Security Council strongly hope that the people of East Timor will respect that decision and work together to build a peaceful and prosperous future. In adopting the resolution mandating the United Nations presence until 30 November 1999, the Council is demonstrating its readiness to continue to support them after they have made their decision."