Subject: AFP: E Timor may ask Portugal for more police: Ramos Horta

E Timor may ask Portugal for more police: Ramos Horta 7:08 AM September 23

East Timorese Prime Minister Jose Ramos Horta has told Portuguese radio his country might ask Portugal for more police if Dili's request for a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force is turned down.

"Maybe Portugal could make another contingent of its military police available to East Timor. They would then become part of the international police force," Dr Ramos Horta told Lisbon-based Radio Renascenca.

"It would be an option which could compensate a refusal to send blue helmets to East Timor on the part of the UN Security Council."

Portugal, the former colonial ruler of East Timor, sent a contingent of 120 military police in June at the country's request to help contain a wave of deadly violence and looting by factional divisions in the fledgling nation.

The police are part of an Australian-led multinational task force that also includes troops from New Zealand and Malaysia.

The violence began after then-prime minister Dr Mari Alkatiri dismissed 600 soldiers in an army of 1,400 when they protested over suspected discrimination against soldiers from the west of the tiny country.

The international force deployed to East Timor formally handed over their authority to the UN last week during a ceremony in Dili.

East Timor has asked for a UN peacekeeping force and UN secretary-general Kofi Annan last month recommended 2,000 UN troops.

-AFP


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