Subject: AFP: E Timor election monitors appointed


E Timor election monitors appointed

From correspondents in Dili October 14, 2006

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan today appointed monitors for next year's elections in East Timor, the tiny Southeast Asian nation that gained independence in 2002.

The secretary general said in a statement that he saw the elections as an important step towards peace and stability in troubled East Timor.

The members of the monitoring team are Lucinda Almeida of Portugal, Reginald Austin of Zimbabwe and Michael Maley of Australia.

Annan said: "They will work independently of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), and will submit their findings and recommendations to the secretary general and the Timor-Leste authorities."

The Security Council created the expanded UNMIT in August to restore order in East Timor after a crisis blamed on tension between eastern and western regions erupted when 600 striking soldiers were sacked.

Ensuing violence claimed at least 37 lives and drove 155,000 people, 15 per cent of the population, from their homes.

Over 50,000 internally displaced persons are still living in makeshift camps in and around the capital Dili, while low-level fighting continues in the streets.

Earlier this week, the secretary general's acting special representative Finn Reske-Nielsen said that restoring public security is a necessity in the country.

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