East Timor invites foreign peacekeepers to help

East Timor 's government has agreed to invite foreign peacekeepers to help restore calm amid ongoing violence between the military and disgruntled ex-soldiers, Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta said Wednesday. East Timor, the world's newest nation, has been plagued by unrest since nearly 600 soldiers were fired earlier this year after going on strike to protest alleged discrimination in the military.

Some hard-liners have set up camp outside the capital, Dili, after participating in deadly riots last month, threatening guerrilla warfare if they are not reinstated. At least two people were killed and nine were wounded in clashes in the past two days, doctors and government officials said.

"We have officially asked help from Australia , New Zealand , Portugal and Malaysia ... and so far Australia and New Zealand have promised to come immediately," Horta told reporters in Dili. Troops from New Zealand and Australia were expected to arrive as soon as Thursday morning to "disarm renegade troops and police rebelling against the state," Horta said. Earlier Wednesday, the United States and Australia ordered the evacuation of nonessential personnel and advised their citizens to immediately leave, reports the AP.

N.U.