Subject: LUSA: Dili 'not apprehensive' over proposed cutback in UNMISET force

19-02-2004 19:33:00 GMT . Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-5833400 Temas: East Timor: Dili 'not apprehensive' over proposed cutback in UNMISET force

Dili, Feb. 19 (Lusa) - East Timorese leaders Thursday welcomed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for a one-year extension of its UNMISET mission, despite the proposed hefty cutback in its security forces.

A spokesman for President Xanana Gusmão told journalists in Dili that the head of state fully supported Annan's recommendations to the Security Council.

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, in comments to Lusa after a meeting with Gusmão, said Annan's proposal did not meet Dili's expectations but did not leave him "apprehensive".

"It doesn't make me apprehensive", Alkatiri said. "The presence of the United Nations in the area of security and defense is more a matter of deterrence. But we have the capacity to maintain internal security".

The UNMISET mission, whose current mandate ends May 20, includes 1,750 peacekeepers, nearly 200 police and dozens of military observers, beyond 80 civilian government advisers.

While Dili had requested that a prolonged mission include a 500- strong peacekeeping forces, Annan's recommendation to the council calls for 310 peacekeepers.

It also asks for 157 police, 42 military liason officers and 58 civilian advisers.

The Security Council is to begin discussion of Annan's report Friday, with a decision expected in March.


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