The commander of the International Stabilization Force in Timor-Leste Mal Rerden has said he is confident stability can be maintained in the country, if the country's fugitive rebel leader Alfredo Reinado is arrested.
Rerden of Australia, the leader of the Australian-led international force, made the statements amid reports that Reinado is ready to negotiate with the Timor-Leste's government.
The Timor-Leste's government has asked the international force to arrest the rebel leader, who escaped from prison last year and is believed to be hiding near Same, south of the country's capital of Dili.
Reinado has said a standoff between his rebel group and an international force can only be resolved through talks, and not a military approach, as his hideout has been surrounded by the international force.
Rerden said the Timor-Leste's government is always ready for Reinado's handing himself.
"The government of Timor Leste has a very clear position and there is always room for Alfredo Reinado to indicate his preparedness to put down his weapons," he was quoted by Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio as saying Friday.
"There's always room for him to hand himself into the authorities and for him to put himself before the justice process, "he said.
"But, if he doesn't do that, that is his decision and he must accept the consequences of that decision," he added.
Meanwhile, Rerden said the stabilization force can handle any unrest that might result from Reinado's arrest.
"There's always the potential for people to get worked up in some of the situations that we find here and we have a very sound operational plan and response plan that allows us to deal with a range of circumstances in that security environment," he said.
"So I'm confident that we'll be able to deal with the situation as it evolves," he said.