United Nations to continue peacebuilding in Tajikistan through mid2002

In a letter to the President of the Security Council, Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed his intention to continue through June 2002 the activities of the UN Tajikistan Office of Peace-building (UNTOP), which he described as playing an “important and very positive role” in the country.Over the past year, UNTOP has focused on consolidating peace, supporting efforts to mobilize international resources, promoting the rule of law and strengthening democratic institutions. “UNTOP, together with the United Nations country team, has made a significant contribution to mobilizing international support for targeted programmes aimed at the creation of employment and the retraining of former irregular fighters and their integration into civilian life,” Mr. Annan wrote.The Office is headed by Ambassador Ivo Petrov, whom Mr. Annan lauded for active work “in facilitating the process of reconciliation and broadening national consensus in the political environment.”The UN estimates that the civil war in Tajikistan, a country of under 6 million, has taken the lives of over 50,000 people, mostly civilians. UNTOP was established last May following the successful completion of the UN Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT), which monitored the ceasefire between the Government and the opposition as well as the implementation of their peace agreement.