Subject: LUSA: Authorities Interested in Reinforced Portuguese Police Presence

East Timor: Authorities Interested in Reinforced Portuguese Police Presence 14 Feb-19:42

East Timor authorities would like to see an increase in the size of the Portuguese police contingent, the visiting interior minister of the territory's transition government said Wednesday in Lisbon.

Ana Pessoa spoke to media after meeting with Portuguese Interior Minister Nuno Severiano Teixeira. "We would like to see the presence of the GNR (Portuguese National Republican Guard) reinforced, particularly in this period leading up to the declaration of independence, which we all want to take place by the end of the year", she said.

Pessoa recalled that a contingent of 300 East Timorese police have been trained in the territory, aided by the "major contribution" of Portuguese police stationed in the half-island.

"Within three years, East Timor will have a force of nearly 3,000 police", she said, adding that the time period in question was necessary to fully complete training.

The Dili minister denied that East Timor's current situation was one marked by violence, but admitted that the territory was undergoing a period that was "difficult and complicated, one of tension and expectation". She stressed that it would be possible to "calm down and reach independence day with tranquility and no violence".

JBC -Lusa

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