Subject: LUSA: Portugal backs continued UN presence, says Lisbon official

02-02-2005 10:27:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-6717327 Temas:

East Timor: Portugal backs continued UN presence, says Lisbon official

Dili, Feb. 2 (Lusa) - The United Nations should maintain a trimmed-down operation in East Timor after the scheduled withdrawal of its UNMISET mission in May, a Portuguese government official said Wednesday.

Jorge Neto, Lisbon`s state secretary for defense, told Lusa in Dili that UNMISET (UN Mission of Support in East Timor) had made "notable achievements" since being created in May, 2002.

"We maintain, as does the Timorese government, that this mission has to continue with some reconfiguration to eventually follow a nation-building model rather than a peacekeeping one", said Neto.

Portugal is ready to contribute military personnel to any future UN mission in Timor, said the Lisbon official, wrapping up a three- day visit to the new nation during which he signed an accord to broaden bilateral military cooperation.

UNMISET concludes its mandate May 20 and the Dili government has called for the world body's assistance to Timor to be extended for another 12 months with a reduced presence of peacekeeping troops.

The UN mission currently comprises 58 civilian advisors, 42 militry observers, 150 police officers and a multinational force of over 400 "blue beret" soldiers.

EL/CJB.

Lusa

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