Subject: USGOV: U.S. State Dept briefings: East Timor refugees

Federal News Service June 14, 2001 -transcript-

[excerpts pertaining to E. Timor and Indonesia only]

STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING JUNE 14, 2001

SPEAKER: PHILIP REEKER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN LOCATION: WASHINGTON, D.C.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the registration conducted by Indonesian authorities of East Timorese refugees in West Timor?

MR. REEKER: Displaced persons remaining in East Timor were asked by Indonesian government authorities to indicate whether they wish to return to East Timor or resettle in Indonesia. Among these persons are former civil servants of the Indonesian administration in East Timor and those associated with Indonesian security forces and East Timorese.

As we understand it, a total of 10 countries sent a representative to observe the process, as did the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor and the U.N. International Organization for Migration. This number had a very limited ability, obviously, to effectively monitor the process. There were reports of some intimidation and confusion in connection with the process, and questions have been raised about the validity of the results. I think for us, we believe it's crucial that the Indonesian government and relevant international organizations work to facilitate an accelerated and secure repatriation of those who choose to return to East Timor, and we look to the government of Indonesia then to assist those remaining in Indonesia to find new homes as quickly as possible.

Q You guys yourselves don't have any comment on what you think -- whether the result of the process was legitimate or not?

MR. REEKER: Well, I said there were reports of some intimidation, there seemed to be some confusion about the process. All the process was was simply some figures to look at. And I suggested to you the various people that were taking part in that process. The bottom line is that it's very important that the Indonesian authorities work together with the international organizations to facilitate the ability of those that want to be repatriated to East Timor, the ability of them to do so; and for those who choose to remain, then Indonesia has an obligation to assist them in finding new homes as quickly as possible. But obviously, the choices will be for the individuals to make.


Federal News Service June 13, 2001 -transcript-

STATE DEPARTMENT BRIEFING JUNE 13, 2001

SPEAKER: PHILIP REEKER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN LOCATION: WASHINGTON, D.C.

QUESTION: For months now there's been a lot of reports about militias in West Timor harassing and intimidating the East Timorese trying to get them to basically stay in West Timor so as not to go back to East Timor, to present the situation in East Timor as an independent place, from Indonesia is bad. Now I'm wondering, in light of that, if you have any comment on the result of the vote among the East Timorese in West Timor, 98 percent of whom apparently voted to remain in West Timor, not to return to East Timor, which some at least have said is an indication that this intimidation is actually working.

MR. REEKER: I haven't seen those results. I really haven't seen any reports on it, so I'd be happy to look into it for you. But I don't think we have any particular comment on that, perhaps a... Not to remain?

Q: No, to remain in West Timor, and not to return to East Timor, which some at least have said is an indication that this intimidation is actually working.

MR. REEKER: I haven't seen that -

Q: You don't have that -

MR. REEKER: - those results. I really haven't seen any reports on it. So I would be happy to look into it for you, but I don't think we have any particular comment on that reflection of individual views.


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