Subject: RT: Secretary-General concerned
Date: Wed, 01 Jul 1998 10:24:36 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Annan concerned over
violence in East Timor
UNITED NATIONS, June 30 (Reuters) - Secretary-General Kofi Annan expressed concern on Tuesday at recent violence in East Timor and called on the Indonesian authorities as well as community leaders to help ease tensions.
``The secretary-general is concerned by recent violent incidents in East Timor which have resulted in the death of innocent civilians,'' a statement issued through a U.N. spokesman said.
``While he welcomes the atmosphere of greater openness that has created wider possibilities for a discussion of the future of East Timor, he urges all sides to exercise maximum restraint and to ensure that such discourse is carried out in a peaceful manner with full respect for basic human rights and tolerance for differing views.''
The statement was issued the day after a youth was shot and killed and five people wounded in Baucau, East Timor's second-largest town, when violence erupted during a visit by the ambassadors of Britain, Austria and the Netherlands.
They were reviewing political developments in the troubled former Portuguese colony, which Indonesia invaded and annexed in the mid-1970s, since President B.J. Habibie replaced former President Suharto last month.
Last Saturday at least one person was killed during clashes in Dili, East Timor's capital, between rival groups demonstrating for and against Indonesian rule.
The U.N. statement said the secretary-general ``calls on the Indonesian authorities as well as the political, religious and community leaders in East Timor to exercise their responsibility and influence in easing tensions and encouraging peaceful and orderly conduct as people exercise their right to free expression.''
It said Annan remained closely engaged, personally and through his personal representative for East Timor, ambassador Jamsheed Marker, in intensified efforts to find a comprehensive, negotiated settlement of the question of East Timor.
President Habibie has promised special autonomy for the enclave if the United Nations and Portugal recognise Indonesia's sovereignty. Since he came to power pro-independence activists have taken advantage of a climate of greater openness to hold several rallies.