Yesterday, the UN Special Representative for Timor-Leste finally got around to condemn the violence in the capital Dili. Mr Khare announced that he considered the violence, which had broken out after the president had announced the new government, to be sporadic and isolated. Nevertheless, he reassured that those who participate in the violence would be treated as criminals.
The fact that the violence could not be averted in the first place, might be viewed as a failure of the UNMIT peacekeeping force in East Timor. Of course, one has to remember the highly limited resources of UNMIT, having at its disposal no more than 1,661 uniformed personnel, supported by appr. 1,500 civilans/UN-volunteers. Since the mission has UN authorization only until 26 February 2008, however, some significant improvement (in the form of political and social stability) has to be made in the months ahead. It would not be an easy task to extend the mission, considering the high costs and the other peacekeeping obligations the UN recently has engaged in (e.g. Darfur) and most likely will have to engage in in the near future.