The United Nations has extended its peacekeeping mission in East Timor by one week, pending a decision by the Security Council on whether to expand the force there.

U.N. officials say the peacekeeping mission, due to expire this week, will be extended until August 25.

Last week U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked the Security Council to approve a year-long mission in the young nation, which would include boosting the peacekeeping force to at least 1,600 civilian police officers.

The United Nations has agreed on the need to dispatch a strong police force to the region, but has yet to decide on a date or the number of troops.

East Timor's prime minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, has repeatedly asked the U.N. to help restore order.

Violence broke out there in May after then-Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri fired 600 disgruntled soldiers.

That fighting spiraled into gang warfare that killed 30 people and sent 150,000 others fleeing their homes.

Australia leads an international peacekeeping force in East Timor.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.