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Secretary-General pledges quick action

Secretary-General pledges quick action to set up transitional administration for East Timor.


25 October -- Calling it an important challenge coming at a crucial time for the people of East Timor, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today said that the United Nations will move quickly to establish the newly-authorized UN Transitional Administration for East Timor (UNTAET).

Following this morning's unanimous vote in the Security Council to set up UNTAET, Mr. Annan told reporters outside the Council chamber that "we will establish the mission as quickly as we can and eventually take over from the INTERFET forces on the ground."

INTERFET, the Australian-led multinational force, had been authorized by the Council in September to restore law and order in East Timor in the wake of violence unleashed by anti-independence militia after the territory's population voted overwhelmingly in a UN-organized "popular consultation" against integration with Indonesia.

The Secretary-General also said that he intended to appoint UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Sergio Vieira de Mello to be his Special Representative to lead UNTAET. Earlier this year, Mr. Vieira de Mello had also been the Secretary-General's Acting Special Representative prior to the establishment of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

Meanwhile, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Bernard Miyet, told a news conference today that the Council's action to authorize UNTAET was a clear demonstration of its new willingness to support UN peacekeeping operations as well as intervene on "all fronts" in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Mr. Miyet described UNTAET as a very "ambitious and complex" operation that would be one of the UN's largest and most costly missions, with a possible price tag of up to $1 billion for the first year.


ENDS

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