Subject: KY: E. Timor security improving, de Mello says

click here for UN Summary of de Mello's SC Briefing

November 24, 2000, Friday E. Timor security improving, de Mello says

DILI, East Timor, Nov. 24 Kyodo

The U.N. transitional administrator in East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, said Friday the security situation in the territory has improved, citing the impact of operations by the U.N. peacekeeping forces.

De Mello said that because of the improvement, the security alert in East Timor has been lowered to show 'a clear recognition' that threats and risks that existed in August, September and October are no longer there.

De Mello said it is believed pro-Jakarta militiamen who had infiltrated East Timor have now returned to West Timor in Indonesia.

'So, our assessment is that we have less than 50 militiamen inside East Timor and this a very generous estimate, in fact, they are probably fewer than that,' de Mello said.

De Mello praised Indonesia's military and police, saying they have taken forceful action against militiamen intruding into refugee camps.

He said, however, some refugees have reported the situation in West Timor is still characterized by terror and intimidation by militiamen.

De Mello leaves for New York on Saturday to brief the U.N. Security Council on the impact of a recent U.N. mission to East Timor. Later, he will proceed to Brussels to attend a donors' conference for East Timor.

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