Subject: LUSA: Vieira de Mello Bids Assembly Farewell, Noting Security, Elections

10 May 02 12:00 East Timor: Vieira de Mello Bids Assembly Farewell, Noting Security, Elections

With the countdown to independence ticking away, East Timor´s United Nations transition administrator bade formal farewell to Dili´s Constituent Assembly Friday, underlining the UN´s successful role in assuring security and peaceful elections.

Recalling that his UNTAET administration´s first priority on taking office in November 1999 had been establishing security and stability, Sergio Vieira de Mello noted that East Timor´s own defense and police forces were now being deployed.

The territory´s Constituent Assembly and presidential elections, he said, had been "exemplary", capable of "putting to shame any developed country".

The Brazilian UN diplomat, who departs East Timor May 21, the day after the territory´s declaration of independnce, told the assembly that one of his "greatest frustrations" was not having managed to set up a maritime link between Dili and the territory´s Oecusse enclave.

However, the link would be established in mid June, he said.

He assured the assembly that the UN would continue engaged with East Timor after independence.

The new support mission, dubbed UNMISET, Vieira de Mello said, would operate under a mandate to provide technical assistance to government and civil services, and aid with security and law enforcement.

All parties in the assembly took the floor to thank him for his efforts during the past two and a half years, with some predicting he would yet become secretary-general of the UN.

Vieira de Mello dismissed the suggestion, describing the post as "horrible" because of its lack of "freedom" and "private life".

SAS/FP -Lusa-

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