UNTAC Director Civil Administration Component NTAC'S control element, the Foreign
Affairs Service, is now fully staffed and is making its presence felt around the
The Service has already established itself at Pochentong Airport and at the State
of Cambodia (SOC) Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Other staff are examining issues concerning
the receipt and distribution of external aid.
As director of UNTAC'S Civil Administration Component, I announced this week that
all international staff recruited for the Foreign Affairs Service have now arrived
and have wasted no time in coming to grips with their responsibilities under the
terms of the Paris agreements. The short time frame to the 1993 elections makes it
very important to set to work immediately.
The Paris agreement gives UNTAC control over five key areas of civil administration.
One of these is Foreign Affairs, and as set out in the Feb. 19 report of the U.N.
Secretary-General on Cambodia to the Security Council, the main concerns relate to
the issuance of visas and passports, the receipt and distribution of foreign assistance,
and other important aspects relating to foreign policy.
It is essential that, wherever possible, UNTAC ensures that existing administrative
structures operate in a non-discriminatory way so as to promote a climate for free
and fair elections, as envisaged in the agreements.
The Foreign Affairs Service is truly international and comprises 14 people from 9
different countries, representing an impressive array of skills and qualifications
for their responsibilities in Cambodia.
With respect to passports and visas, a top priority task was to establish a presence
at Pochentong International Airport in order to assist passengers who may be experiencing
immigration-related problems either upon entry or exit. The director of the Service,
Wojciech Kaluza from Poland, has assured me that our inspectors will be on duty seven
days a week for as long as there is a need for impartial observers to investigate
complaints and assist people on the spot.
At the same time UNTAC is overseeing important aspects of passport and visa processing
at the SOC Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A key area for early attention was the matter of exit visas, which UNTAC is keen
to see abolished as soon as possible. Discussions between UNTAC staff and Cambodian
senior representatives give some cause for optimism.
In the field of foreign assistance, a team of experts headed by Jean-Paul Vogels
of Belgium is monitoring the situation closely and meeting regularly with authorities
of the factions and of aid agencies operating in Cambodia.
Meanwhile, teams of international experts are busy gathering information from the
major parties in Cambodia and developing policies to effectively implement the Paris
agreements and foster a climate conducive to free and fair elections. This work is
being coordinated by the Service's Deputy Director Alf Reina from Australia. Success
here depends heavily on getting comprehensive and reliable information about current
practices, policies, and procedures on which to base well-informed advice and recommendations.
In common with other UNTAC components, the Foreign Affairs team will also investigate
allegations of malpractice or discrimination in the areas under its control. They
will not, however, chase after anonymous complaints.
Anyone who has a genuine complaint or other useful information about visas, passports,
or foreign assistance issues can contact the Foreign Affairs Service at UNTAC VII,
424 Achar Mean Blvd., Phnom Penh, or by telephone at 26552.
People outside Phnom Penh can either write directly to Kaluza or Reina or contact
their nearest UNTAC provincial office, which will be only too pleased to forward
any information on to Phnom Penh.