Subject: AU: UN row over police

The Australian

April 12, 2007

UN row over police

Mark Dodd

A SHOWDOWN is looming between the UN and the East Timor Government over the controversial promotion of two senior police officers.

The 2500-strong East Timor National Police (PNTL) collapsed during last year's political violence but is now being reformed, with more than 1000 former officers being successfully screened for reintegration.

As part of that process, Jorge Monteiro will be promoted to deputy commander of operations and Inspector Delfim Da Silva will be promoted to deputy commander of Dili district.

However, an internal UN memo seen by The Australian appeals against the promotions.

Dated March 27 and signed by the chief of the UN mission in East Timor, Atul Khare, the memo cites Inspector Da Silva for a ''missing firearm'' and recommends Mr Monteiro for dismissal ''for integrity reasons''. ''The tireless efforts of many who strived hard over the last several months to ensure no PNTL officers with disciplinary or criminal cases against them are allowed back into the force may now have been negated,'' Mr Khare warns Vice-Prime Minister Estanislau Da Silvait in the memo, copied to President Xanana Gusmao.

Mr Monteiro was behind moves to have Australian freelance journalist, Julian King, deported in 2004 over allegations that he was plotting against former prime minister Mari Alkatiri.

Interim Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta wants the PNTL rehabilitated as a matter of priority. About half of the PNTL weapons inventory went missing during last year's violence between factions of the police and army. In one incident, nine police were killed and 27 wounded after being shot by renegade soldiers after agreeing to a UN-brokered truce.

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