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Timor-Leste police resume control of second largest city from UN

16 April 2010 – The United Nations handed over formal control today of policing operations in Baucau, Timor-Leste’s second largest city, to national police as part of an ongoing strategy to lessen the Organization’s direct control over the country’s nascent security operations.

“The long-term stability of the country depends to a large extent on the development of an effective and professional police service in which the community can have confidence,” said the Deputy Special-Representative of the Secretary-General for Timor-Leste, Finn Reske-Nielsen.

“This is a big responsibility for all police officers, and we are all grateful to you for taking on this responsibility,” Mr. Reske-Nielsen added, speaking directly to Polícia Nacional de Timor-Leste (PNTL) at the handover ceremony.

The Government of Timor-Leste and the UN mission in the country, known as UNMIT, are jointly implementing the resumption process, which started in May 2009, in the district of Lautem.

Since then, the PNTL resumed primary policing responsibility in five other districts, including Ainaro in the central highlands earlier this week and now Baucau.

UN Police will maintain their presence in the districts where the PNTL have resumed responsibilities, to monitor, advise and support the national police, including in the area of human rights protection.

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