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PacNet #50 – Timor-Leste: A Fragile Peace

After 5 years, the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT), which started in 2007 following a serious political-military crisis that led to state collapse, concluded its mission in December 2012. Australian and New Zealand forces left the territory soon after the end of UNMIT. Even though several media outlets and various observers hailed UNMIT as a success in stabilizing the country, this was not the first time the UN and the international community had declared mission accomplished in Timor-Leste. In June 2002, the UN concluded its first mission in the country after supervising the territory’s transition to independence following 24 years of brutal Indonesian occupation. In 2005, the World Bank described Timor as a success story in nation building. A year later massive unrest led to the deployment of 2,000 Australian and New Zealand troops, followed by contingents from Portugal and Malaysia.