Subject: Lusa: 'Very probable' UN will maintain a security presence - JRH

East Timor: 'Very probable' UN will maintain a security presence - Ramos Horta

Dili, Feb. 6 (Lusa) - The UN Security Council will "probably" opt for a continued civilian and security presence in East Timor following the end of its current UNMISET mission in May, Foreign Minister José Ramos Horta said Friday.

Ramos Horta also said Dili was "convinced" that neighboring Indonesia was committed to quelling any possible "instability" on the common border, though he acknowledged "some worries" about security along the divided island's frontier.

When the Security Council decides in March on its post-UNMISET engagement with East Timor, he said, it would "probably, very probably, support the continuation of a mission with three components: civil, military observers, and security, which could be either police or military".

Such a scenario would meet Dili's repeated pleas for a continued robust UN presence following the end of UNMISET's mandate on May 20, the second anniversary of the country's independence.

"I'm fully convinced and tranquil that the post-May scenario will not present great worries for the East Timorese people", Ramos Horta said, adding, however, that Dili wanted a "credible" UN persence for "deterrence and prevention".

Both Timorese and Indonesian authorities have recently expressed concern about armed outlaw bands operating in border areas.

Last month the commander of Indonesian forces in West Timor warned that one of those bands, Kolimau 2000, was seeking cross- border contacts with former anti-independence militias to provoke "chaos" after the scheduled departure of UN peacekeepers.

Some 28,000 East Timorese, including an estimated 3,000 former militias, remain in West Timor.

Ramos Horta's comments to journalists came on his return from the Indonesian island of Bali, where he participated in a regional ministerial conference on anti-terrorism measures.

In a related development, a Dili court sentenced a former pro- Jakarta militiaman Friday to seven years in prison for murdering an independence activist in 1999, days after East Timor's plebiscite to end a quarter-century of Indonesian occupation.


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