May 21, 2004
- The Government of Japan decided to transfer some of the materials and equipment (road construction equipment, prefabricated houses, etc.), used by the Fourth Self Defense Force (SDF) Engineer Group currently under dispatch to the United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET), to the Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. An exchange of notes to this effect took place in Dili on Friday, May 21, between Mr. Hideaki Asahi, Ambassador of Japan to Timor-Leste and Dr. Maria Madalena Brites Boavida, Minister of Planning and Finance of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, in the presence of Mr. Yasukazu Hamada, Senior Vice Minister of the Defense Agency of Japan and Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.
- This transfer of materials and equipment includes road construction equipment and prefabricated houses among other equipment, which were used by the Fourth SDF Engineer Group in Maliana, it was implemented due to their withdrawal from Maliana at the end of May 2004, which is a part of full withdrawal of the Fourth SDF to be concluded by the end of June 2004. The transfer is based on a request from the Government of Timor-Leste and the materials and equipment will be donated as part of Japan's assistance for self-help efforts of Timor-Leste, and the Government of Timor-Leste plans to use them for its own economic and social development.
- The withdrawal of the Fourth SDF Engineer Group to Timor-Leste is being undertaken as a part of the withdrawal of the UNMISET force, whose current mandate expired on 20 May 2004. The withdrawal is expected to be completed by the end of June, with the withdrawal of the personnel dispatched to Dili and to UNMISET PKF (peacekeeping force) Headquarters.
- The United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) was established on 20 May 2002 as a successor mission to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) to provide assistance to nation-building in Timor-Leste. The dispatch of SDF personnel to the UN peacekeeping operations (PKO) in Timor-Leste started in February 2002.
- In addition to maintaining and repairing roads and bridges necessary to peacekeeping operations, SDF Engineer Groups have carried out civil assistance (performing duties to improve citizens' daily lives in response to requests of local residents and under the instruction of UNMISET Headquarters.) Their contribution to nation-building in Timor-Leste has received high praise from the UN and from citizens and government officials of Timor-Leste.
- From 20 May 2004, the mandate of UNMISET has been extended for a maximum period of one year, in a greatly reduced scale and duties, where the activities of administrative advisors, military liaison officers and civilian police advisers will continue.
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