28 March 2009

East Timor Government/UNMIT PM and SRSG welcome the start of the resumption of responsibilities by East Timorese police

Joint Press Release PM and SRSG welcome the start of the resumption of responsibilities by East Timorese police 27 March 2009, Dili - The first step in the resumption of responsibilities by Policia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) was announced today by Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations (SRSG) Atul Khare. They decided that the resumption would begin in the District of Lautém, followed by Manatuto District. The resumption in these two districts will depend on the conclusion of an agreement between the Government of Timor-Leste and the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) concerning the resumption process and compliance with the certification procedure. Practical arrangements for the resumption are currently being made in the two districts.

Assessments have also been completed in Aileu and Ainaro. However, these two districts were found to require improvements before they can be declared ready for resumption. Government and UNMIT experts are now assessing Oecussi and Manufahi. The remaining districts and PNTL special units will then be assessed.

The Government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT have already agreed that the resumption will be a phased process based on a joint assessment on the PNTL preparedness in accordance with mutually agreed criteria. UN Police will remain in the districts where the PNTL has resumed responsibilities to provide advice and to monitor the PNTL, including in the area of human rights protection.

Prime Minister Gusmao congratulated the PNTL and welcomed the agreement. “We will start with two districts because this is a gradual process and in the future other districts will follow. Therefore we ask the state and the government to create conducive conditions, which means adequate facilities, logistics and each of the commands will be prepared to take on leadership responsibilities,” said the Prime Minister.

“Today we happily celebrate the ninth anniversary of the PNTL, with the hope that the police will be able to overcome a number of existing problems in order to move ahead and properly fulfill their duty as a highly professional police force,” stated Prime Minister Gusmao.

SRSG Khare, welcoming that the Government and UNMIT had reached the decision to begin the resumption of the PNTL’s policing responsibilities in Lautem and Manatuto, stated:

“Timor-Leste has taken major steps in the past 12 months towards restoring stability. PNTL beginning to resume full responsibility for policing is a further step in the efforts to ensure that this stability is sustainable over the long term.”

Image added by ETLJB: East Timor's Prime Minister Xanana Kay Rala Gusmao

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