Subject: Lusa: Australia proposes ad hoc UN force to plug security gap

East Timor: Australia proposes ad hoc UN force to plug security gap

Washington, Oct. 16 (Lusa) - Australia has proposed the United Nations deploys a military mission to East Timor to fill the anticipated security vacuum after the end of the world body's current Dili mission next year.

Canberra`s suggestion for an international police force was made by Australia`s UN ambassador, John Dauth, at a Security Council discussion Wednesday on continuing aid to Timor after the pull-out of the current UNMISET mission next May.

Australia`s proposal is the first concrete response to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan`s report last week, which warned Timor`s administration and security services would need continued support after UNMISET departs.

Ambassador Dauth told the Security Council Meeting on Timor that although much could be achieved via ongoing bilateral donor support to Dili, a "modest UN mission centered on security matters" will be necessary.

The envisaged mission would be "fundamentally different" to previous UN involvement in Timor and would comprise military liaison officers, an international rapid response force, police observers, a group of councilors and international juridical analysts, Dauth said.

UN sources said Australia`s proposals were favorably received by New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with British UN Ambassador Adam Thomson underscoring the need for "continuing to build the capacity of Timor`s police".

London is studying ways of offering assistance in this area with Canberra, Thomson told the Security Council.

Spain and Angola, both permanent members of the Security Council, gave broad support for a continuing UN security presence in Timor after UNMISET`s withdrawal in May, 2004.

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