Subject: AP: East Timor says it will need UN help for at least a decade, JRH

June 10, 2006

East Timor says it will need UN help for at least a decade

DILI (AP): The U.N. must make a decade-long commitment to rebuilding East Timor, the foreign minister said, adding that it was in no one's interest to see the violence-scarred nationbecome a failed state.

Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta said he believed East Timor was still a success story despite riots, looting, arson and gunfire engulfing the capital, Dili, just four years after the country won independence.

He said the UN needed to make a long-term commitment and that no one would gain from the nation becoming a failed state.

The UN special representative in Dili, Sukehiro Hasegawa, said the UN is confident that the achievements since independence will not be lost but agreed that rebuilding East Timor's police,army and government "will take several years."

"That requires massive, massive assistance from the United Nations," Hasegawa said.

The U.N. assistance will include helping the Timorese hold free and fair elections next year "by themselves, but with our massive support," he said.

Some 600 striking soldiers were dismissed in March, triggering clashes with loyalist forces and leading to gang warfare in the capital last month. At least 30 people have been killed. More than 100,000 people fled their homes to makeshift shelters andcamps.

It is the worst unrest since East Timor's bloody break from Indonesian rule seven years ago, when retaliatory militia groups devastated much of the territory.

The European Union signed a euro18 million (US$23 million) aid deal with East Timor on Friday, pledging to support democracy and economic development. The first shipments of aid from former colonial power Indonesia also arrived on two Hercules planes.

Hasegawa flew Friday to Baucau, where Col. Lere Anan Timur, chief of staff of the East Timorese army, vowed to stay out of politics and follow the orders of any democratically elected government.

Rebel forces have blamed Prime Minister Mari Alkitiri for the unrest.

Maj. Alfredo Reinado, a rebel leader, told Malaysia's Bernama news agency that more street protests would be held to pressure Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri to quit. (**)

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