27 Feb 2010

Security Council extends UN's East Timor mandate

8:01 pm on 27 February 2010

The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to extend the mandate of its mission - known as UNMIT - in East Timor for another year.

The 15-member body also endorsed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's intention to reconfigure UNMIT's police component .

Nearly all of UNMIT's 1550 uniformed personnel are police, and one of the mission's major tasks is to conduct a comprehensive review of the security sector, training, mentoring and strengthening the East Timor national police.

The ABC reports that the council directed Mr Ban to report no later than 15 October on how to reconfigure the police component, and no later than 26 January 2011 on possible adjustments in the mission's mandate and strength.

Development of police force seen as key

Earlier this week, UNMIT chief Ameerah Haq said the former Portuguese colony had made "remarkable progress" since an outburst of violence in 2006, but she also warned that the long-term goals of recovery and development might prove even more challenging.

She noted that "long-term security and stability will depend on development of a national police force that is professional and impartial and operates with due respect for the rule of law and human rights."

East Timor achieved formal independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a 24-year occupation by its powerful neighbour.