• Kyodo

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Japan will take the lead in talks on East Timor to determine the mandate of a successor to the existing U.N. political mission, with the aim of adopting a Security Council resolution by week’s end, Ambassador to the U.N. Kenzo Oshima said Tuesday.

Japan is the lead country in the so-called Core Group, comprised of Australia, Brazil, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal and Britain, dealing with East Timor.

In an open Security Council meeting, Oshima said that while there is broad agreement on establishing a multidimensional mission, largely based on recommendations outlined in an Aug. 8 report from Secretary General Kofi Annan, there is still a “significant divergence of opinions on how to handle its military component.”

He said that “some argue it should remain under bilateral arrangement, while others contend it should be brought under U.N. blue helmets.”

Japan believes “it would be preferable to utilize, to the fullest extent possible, international security forces that have been provided under bilateral arrangement,” he said.

Among the recommendations in Annan’s report is a proposal to add nearly 2,000 police and military personnel to oversee the 2007 elections and to maintain a “secure and stable environment” as part of an integrated U.N. mission.

The report also proposes a “compact” between East Timor and the global community to coordinate “government, U.N. and other multilateral and bilateral contributions to priority programs.”

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