UN says Australia and New Zealand to play a key role in Timor-Leste

4 Jul 2008

UN says Australia and New Zealand to play a key role in Timor-Leste

Sydney 18 June, 2008 - In an address to the Lowy Institute in Sydney today the head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) said bilateral partners such as Australia will have a key role to play in the future of Timor-Leste.

The UNMIT delegation, led by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste Atul Khare, is visiting Australia and New Zealand this week to discuss the continued role of each nation in the ongoing development of Timor-Leste.

Areas in which bilateral assistance will be needed include the review and reform of the security sector, strengthening the judicial system, and promoting economic and social development.

Mr Khare said Timor-Leste faces a number of challenges in the medium to long term, however its geographic closeness to economically and politically strong nations in the Asia Pacific region is a distinct advantage.

"Peacekeeping is naturally a short-term endeavour and needs to be complemented by bilateral assistance on a long-term basis.

It will be the bilateral international assistance beyond peacekeeping that will ultimately ensure the sustainability of these efforts and the long-term stability of Timor-Leste," Mr Khare said.

Note for editors and journalists
The UNMIT delegation is visiting Australia and New Zealand.
During the visit, it will meet with key government, police and military representatives.
The current UNMIT mandate - with an authorised force of 1608 international police officers - will be reviewed in August this year and thereafter in February 2009 by the Security Council.
In the next few months, the national police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) will progressively resume responsibility for policing after two years of certification and training by international forces.
Alongside the PNTL's resumption of responsibility, UNPol will remain deployed across the country providing a supervisory link and assistance where needed.

For more information please call UNMIT Spokesperson Allison Cooper on +61 409674642 or +670 7230453