Subject: RT: E. Timor Seeks UN Aid to Fight Terror After Bali

E. Timor Seeks UN Aid to Fight Terror After Bali

BY IRWIN ARIEFF Reuters 14.11.2002

UNITED NATIONS - East Timor, citing last month's deadly Bali bombing, pledged full support on Thursday for fighting terrorism but said its fledgling security forces would need international help for the time being.

The tiny southeast Asian nation, which gained independence just six months ago after nearly three years of U.N. administration, "is fully committed to the global fight against terrorism," its U.N. ambassador, Jose Luis Guterres, told the Security Council.

"Cowardly attacks against innocent civilians are morally repugnant and will be met with the full force of law in my country," he said.

But since East Timor's police and military are just now being developed, international police and peacekeeping forces must remain in place until the country "has the capacity to meet this goal on its own," Guterres said.

Australia and other nations have cautioned travelers to steer clear of the region since the Oct. 12 bombing in Bali, a southeast Asian neighbor. Nearly 200 people died in the attack, most of them foreign tourists.

East Timor, one of the world's poorest nations, has said the warnings were unjustified and were harming the area's economies.

Australian Ambassador John Dauth urged the U.N. Mission of Support in East Timor to help counter the threat of terror. "Following the devastating bomb attack in Bali, this point does not need to be labored," he told a council meeting looking into East Timor's progress since independence.

Kamalesh Sharma, the U.N. special envoy for East Timor, agreed greater vigilance was required.

"There is a need to put in place protective and institutional measures to reduce vulnerability, without causing public alarm or insecurity," he said. "In this, the assistance of external expertise should be made available, if requested."

Independence for East Timor capped centuries of colonization by Portugal, 24 years of occupation by Indonesia and nearly three years of U.N. administration.

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