Subject: ABC: East Timor says UN's work there is unfinished

ABC Online

PM - East Timor says UN's work there is unfinished

[This is the print version of story]

PM - Tuesday, 1 March , 2005 18:24:00 Reporter: Karen Percy MARK COLVIN: The East Timorese for their part, say the job isn't done yet. While they admit the security issues aren't as crucial, they say there is still much work to be done to ensure the future of their young nation, and they want some peacekeepers to stay.

East Timor's Ambassador to Australia, Jorge Teme, has been speaking to Karen Percy.

JORGE TEME: East Timor is a successful history of the United Nations, and of course East Timor is a part of success story of Australia, the United States, and also Portugal. And that's why we want these countries to understand our request, and also understand our needs.

KAREN PERCY: One of the reasons, certainly, the Americans and Australians are putting forward is that they don't believe that there is the same security threat that there was when the mission began, and that it doesn't require peacekeepers. Does your government agree with that assessment?

JORGE TEME: That assessment can be considered valid, but our request of course is based on the argument that we still need the presence, continued presence, of around 41 military liaison officers that can be stationed there, and also some 58 civilian trainers, particularly in the fields of justice and finance.

And also around 62 police trainers in order to complement and supplement a continuing medium bilateral police training programs that are Australia is doing.

KAREN PERCY: What would the ramifications be if these countries don't sign on for a longer term?

JORGE TEME: The decision is on the countries but we understand, and we believe that Australia understands our position and our argument. Portugal also understands our argument. The United States also understands our argument.

So we do believe that sooner of later there will be a wise decision from the countries who have been asked to maintain some small significant number of UN staff and military and police in East Timor.

KAREN PERCY: So if you can't get either the Americans or the Australians or other countries to come on board, do you think it will jeopardise the UN's role in this area, or jeopardise the UN's goal in this area?

JORGE TEME: Yeah. East Timor believes the presence of, their demand is basically aimed to enhance the local force, and to enhance the local police, and also to enhance the areas in justice and finance, that we feel are still very weak.

MARK COLVIN: East Timor's Ambassador to Australia, Jorge Teme, with Karen Percy.

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