Subject: NZ Police To Keep Peace In E. Timor For Another Year

NZ Police To Keep Peace In East Timor For Another Year

WELLINGTON, Sept. 28 (AP)--New Zealand police helping to keep the peace in East Timor as part of a U.N. security force will stay there for another 12 months, New Zealand's police minister said Thursday.

Police Minister Annette King said the move "reinforces the New Zealand government's commitment to peace and stability" in East Timor.

The current 25-strong New Zealand police contingent in the country will be replaced with fresh members when its three-month service term ends on Oct. 10, she said.

The U.N. mission was established last month and has taken over responsibility for policing from the Australian-led Joint Task Force.

New Zealand deployed more than 200 troops and 25 armed police in May as part of an Australian-led international force of more than 3,000 troops to restore peace in Asia's newest nation after nearly 100 people were killed in violent clashes and arson attacks.

The violence erupted after the government sacked 600 soldiers, sparking broader unrest that saw rival gangs battling on the streets of the capital, Dili.

Some 150,000 of the tiny nation's 800,000 people were driven from their homes in fighting that followed the dismissals.

A major U.N.-led international presence will be needed for the foreseeable future to keep the peace and organize and supervise the country's legislative and presidential elections next year, Foreign Minister Jose Luis Guterres told the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.

"New Zealand police have shown their ability to make a positive and valued contribution, alongside their international counterparts, to the lives of the Timorese people," King said.

Some 160 New Zealand troops remain in the country to assist police.

New Zealand police have previously served in U.N. missions in East Timor, prior to the territory gaining independence from Indonesia, and in Namibia and Cyprus.

------------------------------------------ Joyo Indonesia News Service

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