Subject: AFP: UN mission head to assess ETimor poll security

Agence France Presse

May 2, 2007

UN mission head to assess ETimor poll security

DILI, May 2 2007

The head of the United Nations mission in East Timor started a tour of the tiny nation Wednesday to assess security ahead of next week's runoff vote for the presidency.

Atul Khare would meet with local officials in areas where unrest and intimidation of voters were reported during the presidential poll last month, the mission said in a statement.

A runoff between Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta and parliament speaker Francisco Guterres will be held next Wednesday after neither candidate gained a majority of the vote in the April 9 election.

"In particular, the SRSG (Special Representative of the Secretary General) will visit districts that reported incidents of violence or intimidation, as well as those that experienced lower voter turn-out during the first round," the statement said.

Khare will visit 16 areas starting Wednesday in western Ermera.

The election, the troubled nation's first since it gained independence in 2002, was hailed as peaceful and voter turnout was high, although isolated reports of intimidation were reported.

Australian-led foreign peacekeepers have been on the streets for almost a year after unrest between factions of the military and police descended into gang violence that killed 37 and forced 150,000 to flee their homes.

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