Subject: IHT: Sharma: UN not 'mean-spirited'

The International Herald Tribune

June 21, 2002 Friday


Regarding "The Global Class" (May 30) by Joseph Fitchett: Joseph Fitchett's inference that the United Nations has been "mean-spirited" in withdrawing equipment from East Timor could not be further from the truth.

Any major downsizing of a UN peacekeeping mission inevitably involves a significant redeployment of assets, the extent of which is determined by the General Assembly in New York, not by the mission itself. However, what Fitchett fails to note is that the United Nations has donated $8.14 million worth of nonexpendable equipment to East Timor's government upon its independence, and $500,000 worth of furniture. This constitutes the largest ever donation to a government provided by the United Nations after a peacekeeping mission, and is the result of a concerted effort by the United Nations, in close consultation with the government of East Timor, to ease the asset procurement burden facing the nascent administration upon independence.

Kamalesh Sharma, New York 
special representative of the UN secretary-general

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