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Slovakia calls for longer UN mission in E. Timor

THE POLITICAL situation in East Timor is unstable, and the recent violence in the capital, Dili, was a reminder of the fragility of the country's new democracy.

This is the stance that Slovakia presented at the United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in East Timor.

The country has been building infrastructure and democratic institutions for six years under UN protection. Slovakia is convinced, however, that the UN should continue helping East Timor and thus build on the effort, time, and money it has invested so far in reconstructing this strategically important country.

Slovakia therefore supports UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's proposal to prolong the UN mission in East Timor until presidential and general elections scheduled for 2007. The UN Office would help the East Timorese government consolidate democracy and political stability in the country, while the presence of UN military advisors would enable the government to increase border security, the SITA new wire wrote.

The UN should use the time left until the elections to help the country build state institutions that protect human rights, justice, and law enforcement.

East Timor, one half of the island of Timor, became an independent country in 2002. In a referendum in 1999 supervised by the United Nations, the East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for liberation from Indonesia. The result of the referendum prompted violence by gangs backed by the Indonesian military, in which more than 1,000 people were killed and many buildings destroyed.

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