New PKF force commander takes charge
Transitional Administration in East Timor
Headquarters Peacekeeping Force
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Lieutenant Colonel Tor Aarnseth
HQ Peacekeeping Force
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The Peace Keeping Force Commander, Lieutenant General Boonsrang Niumpradit, of Thailand, completed a thirteen-month tour of duty in East Timor on August 31, 2001.
The UNTAET Peacekeeping Force (PKF) Headquarters staged a change of command parade to mark the end of Lieutenant General Boonsrang's command and the start of Lieutenant General Winai Phattiyakul tour as the Force Commander. Lieutenant General Winai Phattiyakul is also from Thailand.
In the parade, representative soldiers from the 29 contributing nations that make up the 8120 strong PKF, and many honourable guests, including the Special Representative for the Secretary General (SRSG) Sergio Vieira de Mello and Dr. Jose Ramos Horta, witnessed Lieutenant General Boonsrang pass the UN flag to the new Force Commander.
In his speech, Lieutenant General Boonsrang expressed his confidence in the security situation in East Timor. He highlighted the PKF's achievements in reducing militia activity and incursions in the region and providing a calm and peaceful environment for the 30 August election. He also expressed his respect for the East Timorese people and congratulated them as they move steadily towards full independence.
Sergio de Mello said "General Boonsrang Niumpradit has demonstrated the best qualities we expect of a blue beret...He leaves a job well done."
"The UNTAET military component has been singularly successful in achieving its core mandate: establishing, maintaining and entrenching stability and peace," he added.
In addition, Lieutenant General Winai said that he wished to follow on in his predecessor's footsteps in supporting UNTAET. He also said that he would apply all his effort to command the outstanding international troops in East Timor. He hope to enjoy a good cooperation between the Peacekeeping Force and the East Timor Defence Force as well as Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI).