On 23 October 2009, at a Security Council semi-annual debate on East Timor, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the Head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), Mr. Atul Khare, reaffirmed the need for UNMIT’s presence until 2012 and underlined the significant progress that had been achieved: return of displaced persons to their homes, success of local elections, respect for the rule of law, and gradual transfer of peacekeeping responsibilities to the Timorese police. The Timor-Leste Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Gutteres, stated that his country “would need the UN until 2012.”
The Representative of France reaffirmed that France welcomed the fact that “UNMIT’s actions are part of a medium-term strategy, aimed at gradually transferring ownership of duties now being carried out by the UN to the Timorese people.”
The Security Council met for an open debate on Timor-Leste on 23 February 2010, in the presence of the Timor-Leste Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Jose Luis Gutteres, and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Mrs. Ameera Haq, to renew UNMIT’s mandate on 26 February for one year. Mr. Guterres noted the consensus in Timor over the fact that MINUT should stay until 2012, and hoped that the international security forces would be in a position to leave the country at that time.
The Permanent Representative of France noted that the general situation in Timor-Leste had continued to improve over the past year. He indicated that France shared the concern expressed by the Timorese government that UNMIT’s peacekeeping duties should be swiftly transferred to the Timorese police, making it possible to gradually reduce UNMIT’s personnel. He encouraged the Special Representative to remain actively involved in the issue relating to impunity for crimes committed in the past, a condition for lasting reconciliation.
On 26 February 2010, UNMIT’s mandate was renewed unanimously for one year by Security Council Resolution 1912. The maximum number - 1608 police personnel - remains unchanged. However, the Council endorsed the plans of the Secretary General for a gradual reduction in personnel as responsibilities are transferred to the Timorese police.
The Security Council met for an open debate on Timor-Leste on 19 October 2010, in the presence of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission there (UNMIT), Mrs. Ameera Haq. Mrs. Haq stated that the overall situation in Timor-Leste had remained stable during the last nine months. She described the progress that the country had made in several areas, noting also the longer-term challenges it faced, especially in the economic and social spheres.
The Deputy Permanent Representative of France in particular said that the well-managed transfer of responsibility from UNMIT to the National Police of Timor-Leste was encouraging. Noting the country’s economic dynamism, he stressed that the present political stability and security was due to the responsible attitude of elected officials and opposition leaders.
Emphasizing the essential trust that the Timorese should have in their justice system and the fight against impunity, the French representative nevertheless noted that the Secretary General’s report highlighted the limited progress made in the judicial follow-up of the 2006 incidents.
The visit of a Security Council delegation in Timor-Leste in November 2010 would permit to get first hand information and express the commitment of the United Nations to the country’s future.
On 22 February 2011, the Security Council met for a open debate on East Timor in the presence of Ms. Ameera Haq, Special Representative of the Secretary General and head of the UN Integrated Mission (UNMIT) and of Mr Gusmao, Prime Minister of East Timor,.
In his statement, the deputy permanent representative of France welcomed the progress made by East Timor in the economic and social fields and stressed the importance for the Timorese government to continue to combat impunity. UNMIT must prepare to leave East Timor in an orderly manner after the 2012 elections.
On 24 February 2011, the Security Council adopted resolution 1969, which renews the mandate of UNMIT for one year.
On 22 November 2011, the Security Council met to hear a report by Ameerah Haq, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Timor Leste, in the presence of Mr. Zacarias da Costa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Timor-Leste.
Significant progress had been made in the context of a peaceful security situation. The National Police had taken back its responsibilities, and the electoral management bodies had strengthened their capacities for the upcoming 2012 election. However, efforts had yet to be done in terms of institution building, logistical coordination of police forces and economic recovery.
In his statement, the French representative commended the successful transfer of executive powers from UNMIT to the National Police, while managing to maintain a low crime rate. UNMIT’s personnel were to be responsibly downsized, and its tasks should be reconfigured. The situation in Timor Leste foreshadowed a satisfying electoral process.
On 22 February 2012, the Security Council met in the presence of the President of Timor Leste, Mr. Jose Ramos-Horta, to hear a report on the situation in the country by Ms. Ameerah Haq, Special Representative of Secretary-General in Timor Leste, Progress had been made in the transfer of responsibilities to the national authorities. The situation in the country foreshadowed transparent and peaceful presidential and parliamentary elections. The realms of justice, governance, human rights as well as the civilian capacities of the PNTL had to be strengthened, regarding the upcoming departure of UNMIT from Timor Leste.
In his statement, the French representative commended the success of UNMIT in its support to the country towards peace and stability. The weeks following the elections had to provide the opportunity to define the nature of the United Nations’ presence after UNMIT’s departure.
The day after the presentation of the report, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2037 for a last extension of UNMIT’s mandate until 31 December 2012.
On 12 November 2012, the Security Council met in the presence of the Permanent Representative of Timor-Leste. Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMIT, Mr Finn Reske-Nielsen, stressed the country’s progresses towards democracy and the stabilization of the security situation. This justified the progressive withdrawal of UNMIT effectives until the mandate expires on 31st December 2012, as scheduled by resolution 2037.
The Permanent Representative of France praised the Timorese authorities for conducting legislative and parliamentary elections in a peaceful and democratic way. The international community would continue to help Timor-Leste facing its challenges, but outside the framework of UNMIT from now on, in accordance to the wishes of Mr. Gusmao, Prime Minister of Timor-Leste.
On 19 December 2012, the Security Council adopted unanimously a Presidential Statement welcoming the achievements made by UNMIT, which mandate ended on 31 December 2012, as well Timor-Leste’s progresses towards democracy.