Subject: LUSA: Special envoy Martin foresees 'important role' for UN in crisis

East Timor: Special envoy Martin foresees 'important role' for UN in crisis

Dili, June 7 (Lusa) - Special UN envoy Ian Martin ended a 10-day assessment visit to East Timor Wednesday, pledging the world body would stick by Dili throughout its violent crisis and help assure "free and just" elections next year.

"Everyone believes there will be a greater role for the United Nations than the one anticipated by the Security Council before this crisis", Martin told a departure news conference, referring to Dili's six-week spiral of fighting between security forces and subsequent communal gang violence.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special envoy said the UN should "assume an important role" in helping guarantee that East Timor's regularly scheduled 2007 general elections be "free and just in a climate of freedom and pluralism".

The most urgent task, Martin said, appealing to armed factions to lay down their weapons, was the immediate restoration of security.

Separately, East Timor's foreign affairs and defense minister, José Ramos Horta, told the Associated Press that Dili needed an international police force with a UN mandate for two years.

The UN Security Council, Ramos Horta added, was expected to define the contours of the force next week in New York and the international police contingent should be in place within three months.

Australian Defense Minister Brendan Nelson, meanwhile, paid a blitz visit to Dili Wednesday for talks with Timorese authorities and commanders of Canberra's peacekeeping force of about 1,500 soldiers and police.

Nelson said a new UN international mission, including both military and police components, should focus on "political and communal reconciliation, re-enforcing institutions like government and the justice system".

While Australia's contingent in Dili is overwhelmingly military, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Canberra wanted to double its police presence to about 200 as "quickly as possible".

Portugal and Malaysia together have deployed nearly 350 police and New Zealand, with troops on the ground, is studying the dispatch of up to 40 police as well.



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