Subject: Lusa: Bid for int'l police focused on 2007 elex, not current unrest - FM

East Timor: Bid for int'l police focused on 2007 elex, not current unrest - FM

Dili, May 15 (Lusa) - Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta has clarified that East Timor's request for the dispatch of an international police force is related to preparations for the country's elections next year, not as immediate aid to face current unrest.

"The deployment of a special police force, namely of the (Portuguese) GNR, has to do with the elections in 2007 and not with the current situation", Ramos Horta said Saturday.

"It is not so urgent, but it would be good that they be here at the start of election campaigning", he added.

The country's second presidential and legislative polls, expected next May, will be solely organized by Timorese authorities, in contrast to the first UN-organized elections in 2001 and 2002 that enjoyed the support of "hundreds of UN police", Ramos Horta noted.

"Perhaps, a police force with the experience of the GNR will be necessary to aid Timorese authorities' rearguard", the foreign minister said.

Portugal's paramilitary Republican National Guard (GNR) has served under UN mandate in East Timor in the past, winning praise from Dili.

Ramos Horta asked the UN Security Council earlier this month for police forces, and Dili sent Lisbon a direct appeal for GNR forces last week.

Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates has responded to the appeal, reaffirming Lisbon's readiness to help East Timor after consultations with "other countries and the United Nations".



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