Subject: AP: E. Timor Gets United Nations Nod For Membership

E. Timor Gets United Nations Nod


UNITED NATIONS, May 23 (AP) - Acting with unusual speed, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution Thursday recommending that the 189-nation General Assembly admit East Timor as a new member.

The resolution was approved without a vote a day after Secretary-General Kofi Annan sent East Timor's request to join the United Nations in late September to both U.N. bodies. East Timor became the world's newest nation on May 20.

Singapore's Foreign Minister Shanmugam Jayakumar, whose country currently holds the Security Council presidency, congratulated East Timor ``on this historic occasion.''

He said the council's recommendation would be sent to Annan for transmission to the next session of the General Assembly, which begins in early September.

Switzerland voted on March 3 to join the United Nations, and it was not clear which country would be admitted first.

East Timor became independent on May 20 after centuries of Portuguese rule and 24 years of often brutal occupation by Indonesia.

In its first act, the tiny southeast Asian nation's assembly voted to sign the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and join the United Nations.

``We kindly request that the Democratic Republic of East Timor be admitted as a new member of the United Nations during the last week of September 2002,'' East Timor's president, Xanana Gusmao, and prime minister, Mari Alkatiri, said in a joint letter to Annan on May 20, which was circulated Wednesday.

The Security Council referred the application on Wednesday to its Committee on the Admission of New Members. The committee met Thursday morning and unanimously decided to recommend East Timor for U.N. membership.

After the council approved the recommendation Thursday afternoon, Singapore's Jayakumar noted ``with great satisfaction'' East Timor's commitment to uphold the U.N. Charter.

``We look forward to the day in the near future when the Democratic Republic of East Timor will join us as a member of the United Nations and to working closely with its representatives,'' he said.

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