Subject: LUSA: Ramos Horta critical of US peacekeeping pull out

03-07-2002 13:43:00. Notícia nº 3852492 Temas:

East Timor: Ramos Horta critical of US peacekeeping pull out

East Timor`s foreign minister said Wednesday that he regretted the decision of the United States to withdraw its military observers from the newly independent nation over fears of possible prosecution of US military by the International Criminal Court .

Jose Ramos Horta said the US decision was "sad and deeply contradictory, as they (the peacekeepers) are only unarmed observers who even in extreme cases would not be capable of committing any crime". America`s position would not be understood by most people, Ramos Horta told Lusa.

"It appears that the US really wants the whole world to agree with it, and nobody else. Washington prefers unilateralism to multilateralism, and I, as a friend of the US, am deeply disappointed", said Dili`s foreign minister.

The US has recently been in dispute with the United Nations over the possible mandate of the ICC, with Washington threatening to pull out its peacekeeping troops in Bosnia.

The UN Security Council and secretary-general have said that the treaty establishing the ICC (which the US has not ratified) gives adequate protection to peacekeepers.

Ramos Horta`s comments come a few days after the US announced it would withdraw three observers from East Timor, although there has been no confirmation of what will happen to the remaining 75 American military personnel currently training the East Timor Defense Force.

CJB/ASP -Lusa-

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