Subject: AP: East Timor Violence Easing, International Police Still Needed - PM

East Timor Violence Easing, International Police Still Needed - PM

Wednesday September 6th, 2006 / 14h43

OSLO (AP)--East Timor's Prime Minister Jose Ramos-Horta on Wednesday said violence was easing in his troubled homeland but international police were still needed to maintain peace.

"The situation is much calmer," Ramos-Horta said after meeting Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in Oslo. "We still depend on the international police force."

Ramos-Horta shared the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize with Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo for their efforts to peacefully end the Indonesian occupation of their homeland. East Timor broke free in 1999 after a bloody conflict.

Ramos-Horta became prime minister in July after his predecessor, Mari Alkatiri, was ousted.

Violence erupted in East Timor's capital, Dili, in May after Alkatiri dismissed some of the country's military, triggering gunbattles and gang warfare. At least 30 people died, and tens of thousands of people fled their homes.

Nobel laureate Ramos-Horta said he was confident that peace and prosperity would be restored to the tiny nation.

"East Timor can quickly recover and be relative(ly) prosperous in a few years," he said at a news conference. He said efforts were under way with Norway's help to foster reconciliation between groups in East Timor, and to allow displaced people to return home.

"We hope that by early October the vast majority of internally displaced people will be returning," said Ramos-Horta.

The U.N. Security Council last month authorized the deployment of 1,600 international police and 34 military liaison officers to help maintain order on the half-island territory.

Plans to shut down the U.N. mission to the East Timor were scrapped when violence broke out in May.

After meeting Ramos-Horta, Stoltenberg said the Norway pledged an additional 15 million kroner ($2.8 million) in aid to help East Timor rebuild its electricity network.

Ramos-Horta was in the Norwegian capital to join two other Nobel Peace laureates, Rigoberta Menchu of Guatemala and Wangari Maathai of Kenya, at a Norwegian Peace Corps "North-South Forum 2006" on Thursday and Friday.


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