Security Task Force in TimorLeste agrees to step up disarmament – UN

A Security Task Force in Timor-Leste, where violence earlier this year caused over three dozen deaths and forced some 150,000 people to flee their homes, has agreed to step up a national disarmament campaign, the United Nations mission there (UNMIT) has reported.The move came on Friday during a Security Task Force meeting where Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative, Sukehiro Hasegawa, underscored the need to collect weapons that remain in the hands of civilians. Among those attending was Brigadier-General Mick Slater, who reported that more than 1,700 firearms have already been collected and the process continues. “Thousands of traditional weapons have also been collected and destroyed,” he saidMr. Hasegawa emphasized that the assistance of the Timorese people “will be essential in indicating the location of illegal weapons and identify those persons who are in the possession of such weapons.” Increasing security concerns were also expressed by a number of political party representatives who participated in a separate meeting on the electoral process, UNMIT said in a news release. Political party representatives emphasized the need for the UN and the international security forces to establish and maintain a secure environment in the period leading up to, during and immediately following the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections.

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