UN Peacekeeping Force: Agreement between the Republic of Indonesia and the Portuguese Republic on the question of East Timor


During the interim period between the conclusion of the popular consultation and the start of the implementation of either option, the parties request the Secretary-General to maintain an adequate United Nations presence in East Timor.

Annex II, G: Security

The Indonesian authorities will ensure a secure environment for a free and fair popular consultation process and will be responsible for the security of United Nations personnel. A number of United Nations security guards will be deployed to ensure the security and safety of United Nations personnel and property. A number of international civilian police will be available in East Timor to advise the Indonesian Police during the operational phases of the popular consultation and, at the time of the consultation, to supervise the escort of ballot papers and boxes to and from polling sites.

Implementation History


Full Implementation

Following the violence carried out by pro-Indonesian militias after the popular consultation, the UN Security Council passed resolution 1264 on 15 September 1999 authorizing a multinational force to act under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to restore law and order, assist UNAMET, and facilitate humanitarian assistance operations. This force, INTERFET, was led by Australia and was composed of almost 12,000 troops. After additional negotiations with Indonesia to be allowed to deploy on the Timorese island, INTERFET was deployed on the September 20. INTERFET was able to quickly restore order to East Timor and was complemented with (and followed by) the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).


Full Implementation

UNTAET was established in resolution 1272 on 25 October 1999 and took over peacekeeping responsibility from INTERFET in February 2000. UNTAET had the mandate to (a) provide security and maintain law and order throughout the territory of East Timor, (b) establish an effective administration, c) To assist in the development of civil and social services, (d) ensure the coordination and delivery of humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation and development assistance, (e) support capacity-building for self-government, and (f) assist in the establishment of conditions for sustainable development. UNTAET was authorized to contain up to 9,150 military troops and 1,640 civilian police.

Immediately after the transfer of responsibility from INTERFET to UNTAET, the mission began to recruit Timorese to fill posts within the East Timor Transitional Administration (ETTA) and recruit and train a Timorese police force. While a reduction in the force level of UNTAET by the end of the year was originally planned, it was delayed to cope with the threat of militias along the West Timor border. Most of the mission's military forces were deployed along the border region, where they worked to disarm militias and destroy confiscated weapons. By the end of the year the strength of the mission was 7,886 all ranks, including 120 military observers, and 1402 civilian police.1

  • 1. "Secretary General's Reports to the UN Security Council," United Nations Security Council (S/2000/1105), November 11, 2000; (S/2001/42), January 16, 2001.

Full Implementation

According to Secretary General’s report for October of 2001, the UN peacekeeping mission in East Timor was preparing a transition to the successor mission.2 Subject to the continuation of the prevailing stable security conditions, the military component was expected to be reduced to 5,000 by independence. The civilian police component was also expected to be reduced to 1,259 by independence.3 

  • 2. "Secretary General's Reports to the UN Security Council," United Nations Security Council (S/2001/983), October 18, 2001.
  • 3. Ibid.

Full Implementation

UNTAET's mandate ended with the formal independence of East Timor on 20 May 2002. The mission was largely successful, due to both a conducive external environment and the comparatively high level of resources it received, especially when the small size and population of East Timor is taken into account.4 

UNTAET was immediately replaced by the United Nations Mission in Support of East Timor (UNMISET), which was mandated with the following tasks: (a) provide assistance to core administrative structures of the East Timor government, (b) provide interim law enforcement and assist in the development of the East Timor Police Service, and (c) contribute to the maintenance of internal and external security. UNMISET was initially deployed with a strength of 5,000 troops and 1,250 civilian police, which was to be drawn down as rapidly as possible over the duration of the mission. By November, the mission's police forces had been drawn down from 1,250 to 741 as the delegation of full operational authority to Timorese units had taken place in 4 of 13 districts. The military component of UNMISET remained largely dedicated to maintaining a robust border presence to prevent the influx of militias from West Timor.5

  • 4. James Dobbins, Seth G. Gones, Keith Crane, Andrew Rathmell, Brett Steele, Richard Teltschik, and Anga Timilsina, The UN's Role In Nation-Building: From the Congo to Iraq (Santa Monica, C: RAND Corporation, 1990), 162.
  • 5. "Secretary General's Report to the UN Security Council," United Nations Security Council (S/2002/1223), November 6, 2002.

Full Implementation

UNMISET continued to provide assistance to the new East Timor government with advisors serving in 15 ministries and offices. As local capacity grew, 30 of the 100 civilian advisers serving with UNMISET were withdrawn by November. UNMISET gradually handed authority to the East Timor Police Service, with the last district turned over to local forces in December. 300 UN Civilian Police remained at the end of the year, structured into a 200-member training unit and a 125-member emergency response force. Force levels were drawn down drastically over the year, decreasing from 3,870 troops in March to 3,300 troops in September and 1,750 troops in December. At year end the force was structured into 2 infantry battalions and 7 military observers.6

  • 6. "Secretary General’s Report to the Security Council," United Nations Security Council  (S/2003/944), October 6, 2003; (S/2003/449), April 21, 2003; (S/2003/243), March 3, 2003.

Full Implementation

The contingent of 70 civilian advisers continued to assist the government, focusing on making preparations for the sustainability of the East Timor administration by creating manuals and training documents to be used after their withdrawal. After 20 May 2004 the civilian adviser contingent was reduced to 58 personnel. The UN Civilian Police contingent retained the end-of-2003 force structure until 20 May, when it was reduced in size to a contingent of 157 trainers only. These officers remained in training roles and co-deployed alongside the National Police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) throughout the year. The security component of the mission remained at a level of 1,750 troops until May, at which point the force was reduced to a total of 477 all ranks, including 42 military liaison officers, 310 formed troops, and a 125-strong international response unit. Concurrent with the reduction in force on 20 May 2004, the mandate of UNMISET was also changed to focus on three tasks: (a) providing assistance to the justice system and core administrative structures of the East Timor administration, (b) contribute to the development of the PNTL, and (c) contribute to the maintenance of internal and external security.7

  • 7. "Secretary General's Reports to the UN Security Council," United Nations Security Council (S/2004/333), April 29,  2004; (S/2004/669), Augus 13, 2004; (S/2004/888), November 9, 2004; "UN Security Council Resolution," United Nations Security Council  (S/RES/1543), May 14, 2004.

Full Implementation

All components of UNMISET continued their mandated tasks until 20 May 2005, when the mission's mandate expired. Civilian advisers and UN civilian police advisers continued at their December 2004 levels while the military component was drawn down to 144 troops and 35 military liaison officers.8

The UN Security Council authorized a United Nations Office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL) as a follow-on force designed to support development and training of government officials and police. UNOTIL was composed of 45 civilian advisers, 40 police advisers focused on training the PNTL, 20 police and 15 military advisers to support the development of the East Timor Border Patrol Unit, and 10 human rights officers. 9 

  • 8. "Secretary General's Report to the UN Security Council," United Nations Security Council (S/2005/99), February 18, 2005.
  • 9. "Secretary General's Report to the UN Security Council," United Nations Security Council (S/2005/310), May 12, 2005; "UN Security Council Resolution,"United Nations Security Council (S/RES/1599), April 28, 2005.

Full Implementation

UN peacekeeping mission was prolonged due to unrest. A new mission was created in 2006 to deal with the renew violence. Much focus was on the police and military as well as the political developments relating in part to West-East tensions. In 2006 there was serious violence in Dili and some other regions, originating in unresolved political conflicts within the elite and underlying structural tensions within the security sector (among other factors). Bilateral forces returned, as well as army & police forces under the UN.10 


Full Implementation

No further development related to peacekeeping mandate of the UN.


Full Implementation

In September 2011, the Government and UNMIT signed a Joint Transition Plan (JTP) to guide planning for UNMIT’s expected withdrawal by the end of 2012.11