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Security Council extends UNMIT mandate

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- In a move to continue security reforms and prevent a return to violence, the U.N. Security Council has extended the U.N. mandate in Timor-Leste.

The Security Council announced Thursday a unanimous vote in support of extending the U.N. peacekeeping mandate in Timor-Leste for one year to help ensure stability and continue critical security sector reforms, the United Nations reported.

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The Timor-Leste peacekeeping mandate, called UNMIT, originated after violence erupted in the country in 2006 that "claimed dozens of lives and drove 155,000 people, 15 percent of the total population, from their homes," the release said.

Officials say the UNMIT mandate was extended after a request by the government of Timor-Leste to help ensure security during the country's 2009 election and begin the phased transfer of policing responsibilities to local authorities after all required criteria are met.

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