|Subject: AKI: UN to stay because of further
East Timor: UN to stay because of further instability
Dili, 7 Feb. (AKI) The United Nations will extend its mission in East Timor because it says the southeast Asian country is still troubled by security problems.
The UN's special representative for East Timor, Atul Khare, said that the country remained unstable and he supported the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's recommendation to extend the mission for 12 months.
"Looking at the broad picture, I think that there is relative stability," Khare told reporters on Thursday.
"But looking at the individual cases, I see that the stability is fragile and I strongly support the recommendation which the secretary-general has made."
The United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) was established in August 2006 when political tension and divisions within the armed forces led to widespread rioting in the former Portuguese colony.
UNMIT’s mandate is currently set to expire in February 26.
Among the “individual cases” mentioned by Khare is the threat posed by renegade soldiers led by Major Alfredo Reinado. Another lingering problem is the presence of youth gangs.
President Jose Ramos-Horta and prime minister Xanana Gusmao have so far failed to engage Reinado in constructive dialogue aimed at ending the standoff peacefully.
Reinado abandoned the army on May 4 2006 to join around 600 former soldiers who had been dismissed two months previously, after complaining of ethnic discrimination over promotions.
He has been on the run since he escaped from jail in August 2006 after being arrested on charges of illegal weapons distribution, desertion and attempted murder.
Rebels under the leadership of Reinado have fired warning shots near a patrol of Australian troops south-west of the capital Dili.
Although gangs have existed in East Timor since the Portuguese colonial era, many emerged in opposition to the 24-year-long occupation by Indonesia which ended in 1999.
Around 40 per cent of East Timor’s one million people live below the poverty line.
UN Timor point man wants stabilisation mission extended
DILI, feb. 6 (AFP) - The United Nations point man in East Timor said Thursday he was in favour of extending the global body's stabilisation mission in the troubled fledgling nation.
Atul Khare said he supported UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's recommendation that the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) have its mandate, set to expire February 26, renewed for another year.
"Looking at the broad picture, I think that there is relative stability. But looking at the individual cases, I see that the stability is fragile," Khare told a press conference here.
"I strongly support the recommendation which the secretary general has made."
The mission was established in August 2006 following factional violence in April and May that killed at least 37.
A UN police patrol was met with warning shots Wednesday after stumbling across a group of fugitive rebels hiding out in the country's Ermera district.
A police spokesman said the rebels were part of a group of soldiers who deserted in 2006 and are headed by Major Alfredo Reinado, who is on the run from charges of illegal weapons distribution, desertion and attempted murder.
East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was separated from Indonesian occupation following a 1999 independence vote marred by deadly violence inflicted by the Indonesian military and its militia allies.
Indonesia had invaded East Timor, which is formally known as Timor-Leste, in 1975.
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