East Timor bids adieu to the UN

2012-12-31 13:41
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Dili - The UN ends its peacekeeping mission in East Timor on Monday after 13 years of boots on the ground in Asia's youngest nation following a bloody transition to independence.

UN forces first entered the territory around the vote for independence from Indonesia in 1999 that gave way to political unrest and bloodshed, and around 1 500 peacekeepers were based there since.

The final batch of troops and logistics staff left in the morning as the mission prepared to take down its flag, departing from a country struggling with widespread malnutrition and maternal mortality rates that are among the worst in the world.

East Timor's leaders said they were excited about their nation's new direction despite the many problems that lie ahead for the fragile democracy.

"In the end we have to say goodbye to the UN with... high appreciation for what they have been doing in Timor-Leste," Deputy Prime Minister Fernando La Sama de Araujo told AFP, referring to the nation by its official name.

He said East Timor would now focus on serious development challenges, starting with improving schools, hospitals and human resources in the public sector.

"But we're optimistic that in 10 years, coming together with many friends around the world including UN agencies for development, we can overcome these challenges," he said, as a jovial Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao played with hundreds of children.

The country ranked 147 out of 187 nations and territories listed in the 2011 UN human development index.

Government critics have highlighted the economy's heavy reliance on significant but depleting offshore oil and gas reserves that they say benefit urban Timorese more than the regional poor.

There are also concerns that rampant poverty, high unemployment rates among the youth and a fast-growing population could lead to future unrest.

Observers say there is little indication that there will be renewed violence in the short term, but public institutions, including the police force and judiciary, remain weak.

The current UN mission was established in 2006, when a mass desertion among the armed forces prompted fighting between military factions and police, and street violence left at least 37 people dead and tens of thousands displaced.

Looking forward

The final day of the mission has been mostly administrative, with peacekeeping operations ending in earnest in October, when the national police resumed responsibility for security.

Despite the challenges it faces standing on its own feet, East Timor will celebrate the new year with several notches on its belt from 2012: it marked a decade of formal independence and held three rounds of largely-peaceful elections, voting in a new president and parliament.

"Although there remains much work ahead, this is an historic moment in recognising the progress already made," UN mission chief Finn Reske-Nielsen said in a statement.

"The Timorese people and its leaders have shown courage and unswerving resolve to overcome great challenges."

UN under-secretary general and former head of the East Timor mission Ameerah Haq said "everything happened as it should", claiming a rare peacekeeping success for the global body.

The UN-administered referendum in 1999 ended Indonesia's brutal 24-year occupation, in which around 183 000 people - then a quarter of the population - died from fighting, starvation or disease.

The global body oversaw East Timor until 2002, when an independent government took over.

The only major violence since 2006 was a failed assassination attempt on then-president Jose Ramos-Horta in 2008.

Read more on:    un  |  east timor
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Dewani Trial
 

Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.