East Timor ready to protect itself: UN chief

Published Aug 15, 2012 07:51am

Ban said the country is now planning for the remaining 400 international UN peacekeepers to leave.    — Reuters File Photo

DILI: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says East Timor, Asia’ newest country, is ready for the withdrawal of hundreds of international peacekeepers stationed there.   

Ban met Wednesday with President Taur Matan Ruak, the former army chief and one-time guerrilla fighter, voted into office in April.

The two-day trip comes after the UN Security Council praised the half-island country of 1.1 million people for holding peaceful presidential elections.

Violence after last month’s parliamentary elections left one dead.

But Ban said the country is now planning for the remaining 400 international UN peacekeepers to leave.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, voted in 1999 to end 24 years of brutal Indonesian occupation that left more than 170,000 dead.

Withdrawing Indonesian soldiers and proxy militias killed 1,500 people and destroyed much of East Timor's infrastructure.


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