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UN no longer needed, says premier

Observers warn against total pullout

  • Thomas Ora, Dili
  • Timor Leste
  • October 5, 2012
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Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao says a mandate for the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor Leste (UNMIT) is no longer needed and will not be renewed when its mission ends in December.

A short report read out at the 67th UN General Assembly declared national security and political and social stability in Timor Leste to be good, he told reporters in the capital Dili on his return from New York yesterday.

“The people of Timor Leste do not need the United Nations mission any more. Responsibility for maintaining national security has been given to the National Police of Timor Leste [PNTL],” he said.

The PNTL has played a significant role in maintaining law and order this past year, particularly during presidential elections in March and April and parliamentary elections in July, Gusmao said.

He said he was told in New York that Timor Leste now has fewer social or political divisions than many other countries.

However, not everyone shared the prime minister's confidence.

Local political analyst Ermelindo das Neves Mendonca welcomed Gusmao’s remarks, but warned that overseas aid was still vital for the country’s development.

Timor Leste, which became a sovereign state 10 years ago, “still lacks many resources and needs support from other countries,” he said.

Nelson Belo, director of Fundasaun Mahein, an NGO which advocates defense and security issues, also sounded a note of caution, saying the security situation in the country does not yet warrant a total UN pullout.

“We still need United Nations peacekeepers, but not its political mission,” he said.

UNMIT was established by the United Nations Security Council according to Resolution 1704, adopted on August 25, 2006.

The council mandated UNMIT to support the government and relevant institutions with a view to consolidating stability, enhancing a culture of democratic governance and facilitating political dialogue.

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