The final batch of peacekeepers will leave in December in line with a timetable to depart by the end of the year, said Finn Reske-Nielsen, head of the United Nations Integrated Mission in East Timor (UNMIT).
"We will pull them out over the next two months. By the 15th of December there will be no UN police [peacekeepers] left in the country," he told reporters in Jakarta.
The UN partially handed over responsibility for security to Timorese police in March last year and from November 1 they will be expected to operate on their own.
It would be the "end of any kind of operation of support by the UN police", Reske-Nielsen said.
"At the moment whenever we are asked to provide support for a police operation, we will do that. But as of 1 November that stops and we will send the police home in very short order," he said.
A first batch of 330 UNMIT personnel will withdraw this month, with the largest contingent expected to pull out in the early weeks of November, said Reske-Nielsen.
At its peak, the UN mission was made up of 1,600 people and it currently has about 1,270. Reske-Nielsen said the UN Security Council was expected to make a decision to formally terminate the mission next month.
The East Timor National Police is presently headed by the first Prosecutor General of East Timor, Longuinhos Monteiro whose mandate as Commissioner of Police will also end soon. He is expected to be replaced after a series of mismanagement of police weapons, several cases of human rights abuses by police officers the the shooting dead of a several citizens over the last few years.
Civil society, Members of the National Parliament and the Commander of the East Timor Defence Forces have all called for Mr Monteiro's dismissal or replacement over recent months because of a perceived lack of competence and responsibility for the actions of his officers.
Source: Agence France-Presse and The Jakarta Globe. Edited and added to by Warren L. Wright. Photo: UN News Center
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