Subject: UN delegation wants peacekeeping mission in East Timor extended

UN delegation wants peacekeeping mission in East Timor extended

AP - Saturday, December 1

DILI, East Timor - A U.N. delegation will recommended that the United Nations extend its peacekeeping mission in troubled East Timor when it runs out next year, an official said Friday.

"East Timor still needs a lot of international assistance," South Africa's ambassador to the U.N. Security Council, Dumisani Kumalo, said in the capital of Dili after meeting political leaders during a weeklong visit.

The U.N. oversaw East Timor's transition to independence in 2002 after the former Portuguese colony's bloody split from Indonesia in 1999. It had been winding down its operations when violence flared again last year.

Armed clashes between the police and army deserters last April and May gave way to gang warfare, looting and arson. At least 37 people were killed and 155,000 driven from their homes.

Relative calm was restored by thousands of foreign troops and U.N. police who supervised recent elections in which Nobel Peace Prize winner Jose Ramos-Horta became president.

But the vastly divided armed forces still pose a threat to political stability, and the nation suffers from deep poverty and food shortages.

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