The United Nations presence in Tajikistan is continuing to make an important contribution to that country’s post-conflict transition as it encourages the continuation of national dialogue and reconciliation and helps to bolster democratic institutions, the Secretary-General says as he seeks to extend the work of the UN Tajikistan Office of Peace-building (UNTOP) for another year, until 1 June 2005. In a letter to the President of the Security Council released today, the Secretary-General says the viability of Tajikistan’s peace process will be tested by parliamentary elections early next year, and notes that UNTOP facilitated a needs assessment mission led by the UN’s Electoral Assistance Division. “The assistance to be provided to Tajikistan aims at contributing to the improvement of the transparency and credibility of the 2005 parliamentary elections and at promoting democratization within the framework of the peace-building process,” Mr. Annan writes. “The holding of free and non-violent general elections in 2005 would be an important goal for UNTOP and an indicator of the achievement of its objectives.” The Secretary-General also notes UNTOP’s contribution in other tasks, including promoting the rule of law, implementing human rights projects and educating youth about the risks of drug trafficking and political extremism. UNTOP was established in 2000 following the withdrawal of the UN Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT), whose mandate had been to monitor, and later expanded to help implement, the ceasefire agreement between the Government and the United Tajik Opposition.