East Timor: UN ends peacekeeping mission
The UN officially ends its peacekeeping operations in East Timor on Monday.
UN forces have been pulling out since October when East Timorese security forces took over responsibility for maintaining law and order.
The UN played a vital role in East Timor's independence by organising the 1999 referendum which ended Indonesia's 24-year occupation.
UN peacekeeping troops returned in 2006 after a failed military coup led to social and political instability.
The UN's administration of East Timor, from the violent departure of Indonesia in September 1999 to formal independence in May 2002, in effect midwifed the birth of its 191st member state.
But the UN's involvement in this small, remote country goes back much further - to the months after the brutal Indonesian invasion of December 1975, when a young, bearded Timorese by the name of Jose Ramos Horta pleaded at the UN Security Council for international support.
For most of the 24-year Indonesian occupation the UN was kept out, and proved ineffective. But East Timor remained on its books as a former Portuguese colony still awaiting self-determination, and that lack of formal recognition continued to haunt Indonesian rule.
So can the UN now leave East Timor with its head held high? Compared to the messy outcome of many other UN interventions, East Timor is a relative success story. An impoverished, war-torn country has, in 13 years, become a fairly stable small state with promising economic growth prospects.
How much of that was down to the UN, and how much down to the efforts of East Timorese leaders like Jose Ramos Horta, is a matter of debate. No-one would dispute that the UN's assistance has at times been vital.
Finn Reske-Nielsen, chief of the UN Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (Unmit), said in a statement: "The Timorese people and its leaders have shown courage and unswerving resolve to overcome great challenges.
"Although there remains much work ahead, this is an historic moment in recognising the progress already made."
He said the withdrawal did not mark an end to the partnership between the UN and East Timor, as "challenges still remain".
The UN directly administered the country until 2002 when it formally became a nation.
But the UN also displayed its characteristic faults in East Timor, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok. Its missions were at times poorly-led, and staffed by well-paid expatriates of mixed ability; there was hubris in its declaration of success at independence in 2002, and the conflict which erupted between the young army and police in 2006 exposed flaws in UN planning.
An Australian-led International Stabilisation Force (ISF) was also deployed in 2006 amid violence that forced thousands of people from their homes.
The ISF ended its mission last month. As one of Asia's poorest nations, analysts say East Timor will rely on outside help for many years.
Our correspondent says that the large international presence had an inevitably distorting effect on the economy of the capital Dili. Many East Timorese will be glad to see the UN go, but may also admit they have reasons to be grateful, he adds.