Subject: LUSA: UN Security Council meets to plan new peacekeeping force

19-07-2006 12:22:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-8185789 Temas:

East Timor: UN Security Council meets to plan new peacekeeping force

Washington, June 19 (Lusa) - The United Nations Security Council holds a closed-door meeting Wednesday to evaluate the situation in East Timor and its members are expected to discuss whether a future UN peacekeeping force, already recommended by the world body's special envoy to Dili, should be mainly a police or military one.

Diplomatic sources said no decision was expected to be taken on a new UN mission by the Security Council, which will debate the report from Ian Martin, Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoy to Timor who returned from a two-week fact-finding visit to the new nation early July.

Although there is broad international agreement that the present UNOTIL maintenance mission in Dili, which expires Aug. 20, must be replaced by a more "robust" security force, divergences exist over the nature of the peacekeeping force.

Timor's new government, sworn in last week after weeks of violent turmoil which killed at least 20 people and displaced 155,000 people and forced the resignation of former prime minister Mari Alkatiri, says it wants a two-year UN mission of peacekeeping troops.

But many members of the Security Council are said to favor a predominantly police presence in any future UN-mandated mission to Timor.

Australia, which heads of 2,500-strong international force sent to restore order after mob violence and factional fighting among Timor's security forces, has said it will soon begin to reduce its army contingent in the new nation.

Prime Minister John Howard said this week that his country's troops would not stay in Timor indefinitely and about 300 Australian peacekeepers are expected to be withdrawn soon to leave Canberra with around 2,000 soldiers in its tiny northern neighbor.

Meanwhile, the UN's top aid official has said that a USD 19 million flash appeal to provide humanitarian assistance to the large numbers of Timorese forced to flee their homes after the recent disorder has almost been entirely funded.

Finn Reske-Nielsen, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Timor, said Tuesday that support for the 155,000 displaced people - some 15% of the population - was "satisfactory for the moment", but cautioned that the "lean season" would arrive earlier than usual in September.



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