Subject: RT: UN on track to wrap up East Timor mission in 2004

Also - AP: UN Eyes End Of East Timor Peacekeeping Job In Mid '04

UN on track to wrap up East Timor mission in 2004

UNITED NATIONS, Aug 13 (Reuters) - Nearly three months after East Timor's independence, the U.N. mission in the fledgling southeast Asian nation is on course to finish its work and shut down in two years, a top U.N. official said on Tuesday.

U.N. Assistant Secretary-General Hedi Annabi told a closed meeting of the 15-nation Security Council that the U.N. Mission of Support in East Timor, known as UNMISET, was "on track ... to be completed in mid-2004," said U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, the council president for August.

"The East Timor Defense Force is taking over operational responsibilities from U.N. peacekeepers as planned, and East Timor's civilian police units are replacing United Nations Civilian Police Units in a timely fashion," Negroponte told reporters after the meeting.

East Timor has also joined the World Bank and International Monetary Fund and is working to fully delineate its border with Indonesia over the next year, although it is lagging in setting up its justice system and naming civilian experts to government support posts, Negroponte added.

Prior to independence on May 19, East Timor had been administered by the United Nations since late 1999, a few months after its people voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia. Jakarta had invaded and seized the territory in 1975 after colonial ruler Portugal pulled out.

Since independence, UNMISET has cut its peacekeeping force to about 5,000 troops from 8,000 last year. The mission also includes about 1,100 civilian police officers.

"We all look forward, with great pleasure, to welcoming East Timor as a full member of the United Nations in September," Negroponte said.

The Security Council has already voted to recommend East Timor for membership as well as Switzerland, and the U.N. General Assembly, which currently has 189 member-nations, is expected to complete the application process for both countries next month.


UN Eyes End Of East Timor Peacekeeping Job In Mid '04

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 13 (AP)--The U.N. is on track to wrap up its peacekeeping mission in East Timor in mid-2004 following the country's successful transition from U.N. administration to independence, the Security Council said Tuesday.

Nearly three months after the former Indonesian territory became the world's newest nation, the council said East Timor has taken steps to assume responsibility for its own security and establish itself in the international community.

"The East Timor Defense Force is taking over operational responsibilities from U.N. peacekeepers as planned, and East Timor's civilian police units are replacing United Nations civilian police units in a timely fashion," the council said in a statement.

The council issued the statement after a briefing from Assistant Secretary-General Hedi Annabi on developments since East Timor's independence on May 20 after centuries of Portuguese rule and 24 years of often brutal occupation by Indonesia.

U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte, the current council president who read the statement, said members got "good news" from Annabi on the U.N. mission's work "and the mission is due to be completed in mid-2004."


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