Subject: AP: Annan: East Timor Mission Should Continue

AP: Annan: East Timor Mission Should Continue EDITH M. LEDERER

http://www.miami.com

UNITED NATIONS - Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday recommended against reducing the U.N. mission in East Timor in its final six months, saying the new nation hasn't reached "the critical threshold of self-sufficiency."

In a report to the Security Council, Annan said East Timor's administration - especially its financial, banking and judicial institutions - "remain weak and fragile" despite "notable advances."

He said U.N. civilian advisers who should be mentors by now continue to perform important jobs in key institutions, U.N. civilian police advisers remain "indispensable" in training the national police force, and U.N. troops are still needed to support security and stability.

The Timorese defense force "remains hampered by a lack of experienced personnel, appropriate training regimes and equipment, and by limited logistic capacity," Annan said.

The Security Council voted in May to wind up the U.N. mission on May 20, 2005, and drastically reduce its size from more than 1,660 troops, 300 international police and 77 military observers.

Annan recommended retaining current levels until the mission ends: 310 troops, a 125-member international response unit, 42 military liaison officers, 157 civilian police advisers and 58 civilian advisers.

East Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia in 1999. The Indonesian military and its proxy militias struck back with violence that killed 1,500 Timorese and displaced 300,000.

The United Nations administered the territory for 2 1/2 years, then handed it to the Timorese on May 20, 2002.


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