29 December 2008

East Timor hits out over UN report

The Australian ETimor hits out over UN report Mark Dodd 29 December 2008 - EAST Timor has lashed out at a UN report that labels the country's police and judicial systems as dysfunctional.

A statement released by the Government in Dili at the weekend questioned the authenticity of the report and accused The Australian of waging a "campaign of disinformation" against Dili.

The UN report, revealed in The Weekend Australian on Saturday, appeals for urgent action to fix the East Timorese police and judicial systems, warning that the struggling nation could revert to anarchy.

The government statement released on Saturday accused unnamed "political and geo-strategic" interests of being behind the leaked UN report.

East Timor's internal security situation was "perfectly normal", said the statement from the Xanana Gusmao-led Government. "Thus, the alleged report did not come from the UN. Once again we are dealing with speculation, other interests and even worse whose aim is achieving certain objectives, political, economic and geo-strategic," it said.

Mr Gusmao and President Jose Ramos Horta are understood to be angry over the report's findings, which paint an unflattering picture of political disunity in East Timor's upper echelons.

Their anger is easily understood as the report recommends generational change among East Timor's political elite.

"To achieve more fundamental stability, it would be vital to focus on considerably enhancing political institutions, particularly the parliament, and invest an extra effort in grooming a second line of national leaders," the report says.

The report, dated December 1, has been independently verified as genuine by the UN after two senior officials contacted The Australian last week seeking details of this newspaper's plans to publish excerpts from it.

It was prepared by UN Assistant Secretary-General Dmitry Titov from the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and covered an official visit to Dili and Canberra from November 22-29.

During the visit to Dili, which focused on security sector reforms, Mr Titov met Mr Gusmao and Mr Ramos Horta, and senior officials in the UN Mission in East Timor for talks on "the resumption of policing responsibilities by the PNTL (Timorese police)."

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