Subject: RT: UN extends support for E.Timor

UN extends support for E.Timor Nov 23, 2004

The UN agency in charge of peacekeeping in East Timor said the world's youngest country would continue to need international assistance after its personnel leave in May 2005.

The Security Council extended the life of the UN Mission of Support in East Timor, or UNMISET, for a final six months last week, after Secretary-General Kofi Annan argued the country was still too fragile to stand on its own.

"It is clear that some form of continued international assistance will be indispensable in public administration, in particular in the justice and finance sectors," UNMISET head Sukehiro Hasegawa told reporters in the capital Dili.

East Timor became independent in May 2002 after centuries of Portuguese colonial rule, 24 years of occupation by Indonesia and 2-1/2 years of UN administration.

The Timorese people voted overwhelmingly in an August 1999 referendum to break free of Jakarta, prompting a rampage by gangs supported by elements in the Indonesian army.

Around 1,000 people were killed in violence surrounding the vote, prompting Australia to send in troops to restore order. The UN then ran the territory until independence.

Hasegawa said a UN-backed judicial body sought to complete all 1999 violence-related investigations this month and the trials by May next year.

"However, the Serious Crimes Process will not be able to respond fully to the desire for justice to all victims of the violence in 1999," Hasegawa said.

"There will be several proposals from the continuation of the current (unit) to the establishment of an international tribunal or an international truth and reconciliation commission."

Dili has said it would prefer the last option so as not to antagonise its huge neighbour Indonesia.

UNMISET numbered 11,000 troops and civilians when first authorised in 1999. It has dwindled to fewer than 1,000 now, including 472 troops and military observers.

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