Subject: AP: Security Council OKs E. Timor Mission, 5,000 UN Troops

Security Council OKs E. Timor Mission, 5,000 UN Troops

UNITED NATIONS (AP, May 18)--With East Timor's independence fast approaching, the Security Council on Friday approved a new U.N. mission to help the fledgling nation build a democratic government and maintain security with 5,000 U.N. troops and 1,250 international police.

The council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the mission for an initial period of one year after rejecting a last-minute U.S. attempt to include an amendment to protect American military advisers and police officers serving with the U.N. force from prosecution by the new international criminal court.

The United Nations has been administering the tiny Southeast Asian territory since its people voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia in a U.N.-sponsored referendum on Aug. 30, 1999. It will hand over power to East Timor's elected government, led by president Xanana Gusmao, at independence ceremonies on Monday attended by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"This is a marvelous moment for the U.N. to be moving from a U.N. administration to an independent country, the first one of the 21st century," said Britain's U.N. Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock.

see also: UN: Security Council establishes new support mission in ET

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