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UN peacekeepers to leave East Timor by year-end

A U.N. official says peacekeepers are on track to leave East Timor by year's end, but the international community will remain engaged in one of the world's youngest nations through other channels.

Finn Reske-Nielsen, head of the U.N. Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste, told the Security Council Monday that the tiny Asian state still faces many challenges but that a peacekeeping mission is no longer the best way to address them.

The peacekeeping mission was established in 2006 when a major political, humanitarian and security crisis rocked the country that had only gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.

Nielsen said the reconstitution of East Timor's police force was a key milestone that allowed the mission to be mostly drawn down by Dec. 31. But he said that significant capacity challenges remained.