19 December 2009

Timor Leste takes over further security responsibilities

TIMOR-LESTE TAKES OVER FURTHER SECURITY RESPONSIBILITIES FROM UN New York, Dec 18 2009 2:05PM -The United Nations handed over further policing responsibilities to Timor-Leste today as part of the gradual transfer of the security functions it assumed in 2006 after dozens of people were killed and 155,000 others ­ 15 per cent of the population ­ were driven from their homes in an eruption of violence in the newly independent country.

At a ceremony in Dili, the capital, presided over by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Deputy Special Representative Takahisa Kawakami and Timorese Secretary of State for Security Francisco da Costa Guterres, the National Police (PNTL) resumed responsibility over the Police Intelligence Service, the seventh police entity that the UN Mission in Timor-Leste UNMIT) has handed back.

“The Government of Timor-Leste and UNMIT are implementing the resumption process in a gradual manner, district by district, unit by unit,” the mission said in a news release. “Assessments of further districts and units are conducted by joint teams comprising representatives of the Government and UNMIT, including PNTL and the United Nations Police UNPol, using mutually agreed criteria.”

PNTL has already resumed responsibility in four districts ­ Lautem, Oecusse, Manatuto and Viqueque ­ as well as for the Police Training Centre and the Maritime Unit.

UNMIT, set up in 2006 to replace several earlier missions in the small South-East Asian country that the UN shepherded to independence in 2002 after it voted to separate from Indonesia, currently has some 1,550 police and 30 military liaison officers on the ground.

The impoverished country is also receiving assistance from several UN humanitarian agencies. Today, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization announced that it would be able to expand support to food security in Baucau district until 2011, thanks to €600,000 in funding from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

The Baucau project seeks to increase the variety, quality and quantity of food produced by the communities living around the Seiçal River, and to promote the progressive transition from subsistence farming to a more market-oriented approach to production.

At present over 2,000 families are benefiting from the project, which focuses on integrating production of staple crops (cereals and tubers), legumes and vegetables and small livestock by supplying farming seeds, tools and animals along with training and new adapted technologies.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

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