Subject: E. Timor: UN Extension Seen Benefiting Indonesia

BBC Worldwide Monitoring February 25, 2004

Source: Tempo Interaktif web site, Jakarta, in Indonesian 24 Feb 04

UN force extension in East Timor viewed as benefiting Indonesia

Text of report by Jem's de Fortuna, carried by Indonesian Tempo Interaktif web site on 24 February

Kupang: The Commander of 161 Wirasakti Military Provincial Command, Col Moeswarno Moesanip, viewed that UN measures to extend the contract for the UN Peace Keeping Forces (UNPKF) in East Timor until May 2005 would benefit Indonesia, because if there were to be a social conflict in the new country, Indonesia would not be made the scapegoat.

He said that up to now TNI and the former pro Jakarta militia had always been seen as the third party which was suspected of causing disturbances. "If East Timor is peaceful, then the border and West Timor will certainly be peaceful. Therefore, if there is a flare-up, Indonesia should not be made a scapegoat as the third party troublemaker," he said in Kupang.

Florencio Mario Viera, analyst on the problem of East Timor, who was also the former spokesperson for the Uni Timor Aswain United heroes of Timor (East Timor pro integration community association), said on Tuesday (24 February) that the UN plans to extent its mission showed that conditions in East Timor were not favourable yet and therefore the UNPKF must be retained.

According to him, currently the socio political situation in the country was increasingly endangering national stability. He gave an example that the rift within the body of Fretilin, creating four factions, was a serious conflict at the moment. The organization which had the greatest share in East Timor's independence had become an indicator of security in the country. If there were a split, then in the future the country would be at risk.

The recent sacking of Lospalos district Fretilin Chairman, Viktor da Costa, by the Chairman of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri, because he was disloyal to the organization, showed that within the body of Fretilin there was no solidarity. Besides that, rifts within the body of parliament, particularly the case of Mario Viegas Carascalo, where his private home was seized to become a state asset, had aggravated national security. "These problems cannot be viewed as insignificant because they have a great flow on effect for the continued process of development in East Timor," he said.

Mario added that if the UN left East Timor in a condition which was still chaotic, there would be a minority view from donor countries, and would have a very serious influence on the future of the nation. "So far the view formed by the UN was that the civil war in East Timor over the past decades had been engineered by Indonesia. This view has been crystallized. So if for example it failed, it would be the biggest slap in the face for the UN," said Mario. However, in long term interests, the UN should give full responsibility to the East Timor national forces for national security. Thus the nation would not become a puppet nation which continues to be controlled.

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