Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UN military team prepares to pull out

UN military team prepares to pull out

UN military team prepares to pull out

O n May 15 the United Nations Military Liaison Team (MLT) will cease operations

after spending six months monitoring the security situation in Cambodia for UN

member nations.

Until then the MLT's analysis team will continue to send

daily reports on Cambodia's security situation, as they have over the course of

their mandate.

They are also prepared for an extension or alteration of

their mandate.

The Royal Government has made a verbal request to the

United Nations Representative in Cambodia for a such an

extension.

Colonel Muniruzzaman, the Chief of the MLT said that both

Cambodia and the UN have benefited from the low-profile presence of the team,

though people have generally misunderstood its mission.

"Many believe

that we are a military observer team in the classical sense of being positioned

between warring parties and acting as a mediator. Our role has been a liaison

one and our job has been to monitor and report to the UN about security

developments in Cambodia."

"Our presence has also been an indication of

the continued importance of Cambodia to the member nations of the UN, and our

presence had a psychological input and contributed to confidence building in the

fragile environment of the post-election period," he added.

The team is

made up of twenty officers, eighteen of whom served in Cambodia during the

period of the Untac mandate. Colonel Muniruzzaman headed Untac's office in

Bangkok. In addition 15 local and international staff work in the MLT offices

which are located on the grounds of the old Untac headquarters by Wat Phnom.

"We served the UN as a neutral observer and credible reporter on

security related issues. We produced reports for consumption by the member

nations. We provided a degree of transparency that might not otherwise have been

available."

Over the past five months the MLT has also visited camps run

by the Royal Government for Khmer Rouge defectors and provided some of the first

ground observers in Pailin after its fall to the Royal Armed Forces.

In

addition they have observed and exchanged professional views on the

reorganization of the Royal Navy and the integration of the factional elements

into the Royal Cambodia Army, Muniruzzaman said.

The MLT originated from

a request by the Royal Government for a continued military presence in the

post-election period.

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