Subject: Lusa: Security Council Mission Coming with 'Ample Mandate' - UN

East Timor: Security Council Mission Coming with 'Ample Mandate' - UN 9 Nov-13:53

The UN Security Council's fact-finding mission expected in East Timor Saturday comes to the territory, before traveling to Indonesia, with a "very ample mandate," according to UN documents obtained by Lusa in Dili Thursday.

Led by the council's president, Namibian Ambassador Martin Andjaba, the mission will review steps taken by the UN administration towards full independence for the territory and Jakarta's commitments to disarm anti-East Timor militias and facilitate the repatriation of more than 100,000 refugees.

During its 10-day tour, the security council delegation will hold talks with the East Timorese leadership, visit a refugee camp in Indonesian West Timor and travel to Jakarta for meetings with Indonesia's leaders.

One controversial issue that will not be dealt with, according to the UN documents, is the fate of a group of militia chiefs who recently offered full collaboration with investigations into atrocities committed in East Timor last year in exchange for UN protection.

"Agreeing that great care should be taken to avoid giving the impression that the council was protecting people who had committed 'very bad acts,' the president decided not to act on the request," says one of the UN documents.

The council initially demanded to send a fact-finding mission to Indonesia in early September, after the killing of three UN refugee aid workers in the West Timor town of Atambua, which the delegation plans to visit early next week.

Jakarta refused, saying it would represent an unlawful intervention in internal affairs.

But after carrying out an operation to disarm the militia bands in West Timor, Indonesia issued an "invitation" last month for the Security Council to send a delegation.

In Jakarta, the minister for political affairs, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, told journalists that the fact-finding team would be able "to witness the process of registration of refugees (wishing repatriation) and all the weapons that were confiscated" from the paramilitary groups.

After the Atambua killings Sept. 6, UN agencies suspended their refugee aid programs and withdrew all their personnel from West Timor in the face of mounting insecurity.

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