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Timorese Fugitive Surrenders, UN Mission Continues

Timorese fugitive surrenders as UN mission continues for another year

25 February 2008 - The Security Council today extended for one more year the mandate of the mission it sent to help stabilize the fledgling nation of Timor-Leste in the wake of violent clashes in 2006.

The 15-member body took that action, which had already been agreed upon in consultations, only hours after UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) announced the surrender of a fugitive belonging to an opposition militia accused of participating in that violence as well as attacks on the Timorese President and Prime Minister on 11 February.

In its resolution extending the mission, the Council reiterated its condemnation of the attacks and called upon the Government, with the assistance of UNMIT, to continue its efforts to boost stability through strengthening the National Police Force of Timor-Leste (PNTL).

The surrendering fugitive was a follower of Alfredo Reinado, the opposition leader who was killed during the attack on President Jose Ramos-Horta, and had also been the target of investigations by the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste, which was set up to investigate the deadly incidents of April-May 2006.

Announcing the surrender at a press conference in the country's capital, Dili, the Secretary-General's Special Representative in Timor-Leste, Atul Khare, appealed to the remaining fugitive militiamen to submit to justice, assuring them that their rights would be upheld.

Mr. Khare also said that more than 300 petitioners, men and women, were currently gathered in the capital, Dili, for a Government-led dialogue. He said he expected more people to join the event, with UNMIT and Timorese police providing security and transport from the districts to the capital.

Last week, in an open debate on Timor-Leste in the Security Council, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guéhenno praised the leaders and people of the tiny nation for remaining calm and displaying restraint after the latest attacks.

ENDS

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