East Timor was freed from Indonesian rule in 2002 following two decades of bloodshed and oppression. Australian peacekeepers, pictured, deployed to provide security, and in 2006 the U.N. stepped in to help the oil-rich country start basic services and governance. But that mandate ends in 2010, and Dili wants the U.N. to stick around longer, according to AFP:
Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao said building nationwide infrastructure would be key to lifting Timorese out of poverty and that effective security and democratic institutions were needed to prevent a return to instability.
Just last month, East Timor’s fledgling government predicted continued 10-percent growth in GDP, despite the global recession. But this growth depends on significant foreign assistance across the public sector. And there’s little evidence that oil money is being invested wisely. Indeed, East Timor ranks behind Kazakhstan in Transparency International’s corruption ranking. Corruption saps national revenue and hinders efforts to raise support abroad. For three years running, Dili has failed to meet standards for grants from the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation.