Subject: RTP: JRH says extended UN mission chance to re-evaluate needs

East Timorese minister says extended UN mission chance to re-evaluate needs

May 16, 2004 2:37pm Asia Intelligence Wire

Text of a report by Portuguese TV on 16 May:

[Presenter] The UN Security council has voted unanimously to renew, for six months, the mandate of the UN Mission of Support in East Timor [UNISET]. However, the Portuguese troops will not be included in the new, scaled-back, mission.

[Reporter Pedro Valador] There will be fewer blue helmets in East Timor in the future. The new UN mission will include only 310 troops, to be deployed near the border [with Indonesian West Timor]. Most troops will come from Fiji and Australia, which will also provide aircraft support. The new force will also include some 150 civilian police and an International Response Unit, of 125 people, from Brazil.

[Foreign Affairs Minister Jose Ramos Horta, in Portuguese, RTPINT, 12:21:31] The renewal of the mandate of UNISET for a further six months corresponds to what we have agreed with the United Nations, and will allow us, in the forthcoming months, to re-evaluate the needs of our country: [to find out] whether we should speed up downsizing, or postpone it, or even increase personnel, should this be deemed necessary; and by personnel I do not necessarily mean troops. they could be policemen or civilians. [12:21:01]

[Valador] The UN has commended the work carried out by the Portuguese troops, but in the new mission, Portuguese participation will be limited to military observers.

[Ramos Horta, 12:22:11] Naturally, we would have preferred to see Portuguese troops in the new UN peacekeeping mission in East Timor, but given the distance between Portugal and East Timor, the logistics would be much dearer for the United Nations, and therefore preference was given to countries nearer to us. [12:22:35]

[Valador] Interior Minister Rogerio Lobato today [Sunday 16 May] announced a higher state of alert as a result of threats, said to have been received against officials, as well as due to the risk of disturbances during the 25 May [independence] commemorations. The minister also said that as of 25 May, the Timorese people would have to show the rest of the world, that they are capable of taking over the job of securing peace and tranquility in their own country.

Source: RTP Internacional TV, Lisbon, in Portuguese 1200 gmt 16 May 04

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