United Nations

U.N. Will Begin Leaving East Timor Next Week

Peacekeeping mission arrived in 2006

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UN peacekeepers will hand over full responsibility for policing to East Timor next week as they begin withdrawing in earnest from Asia's youngest nation, a UN official says.

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 current UN mission arrived in 2006 after a political crisis in which dozens were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced, with a mandate to restore security.