Subject: AP: U.S. encourages East Timor officials to restore calm

May 13, 2006

U.S. encourages East Timor officials to restore calm

WASHINGTON (AP): The United States encourages efforts by senior officials in East Timor and other parties to restore calm in the wake of disturbing violence in late April, the State Department said Friday.

"We hope that the Timorese people and government will use all opportunities to work to resolve their differences in a peaceful and democratic manner, the department's spokesman, Sean McCormack, said in a statement.

He said the United States supports a continuing U.N. presence in East Timor to assist in developing McCormack said all parties should continue efforts to restore calm as the governing Fretilin Party Congress scheduled for May 17-20 meets.

Unrest started in East Timor in late April when a conflict between nearly 600 dismissed soldiers and the military escalated into rioting that killed five and destroyed dozens of houses.Thousands then fled the capital, Dili, fearing violence between authorities and the disgruntled soldiers.

The government agreed to pay the salaries of some of the soldiers until June as part of an effort to reduce tensions in the tiny island north of Australia.

East Timor's 800,000 people voted for independence in 1999 in a U.N.-organized referendum. The militias struck back, unleashing a wave of violence. (**)

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