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Untac Views

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

Cambodian administration.

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.

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