Subject: RT/AP: UN Council cautions Timorese on renewed violence

Also: UN Security Council urges an end to violent attacks in East Timor

UN Council cautions Timorese on renewed violence

11 Sep 2007 06:41:07 GMT

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council called on East Timor to refrain from further violence after mayhem erupted when independence leader Xanana Gusmao became prime minister last month.

In a statement read at a public meeting on Tuesday, the council emphasized "the need for all parties to resolve any disputes through exclusively peaceful channels and within the framework of democratic institutions."

Last month, President Jose Ramos-Horta appointed a coalition led by Gusmao after no single party won a majority in a June 30 parliamentary election.

The move triggered violent protests by supporters of the Fretilin party, which led East Timor's 24-year struggle against Indonesian rule. Fretilin had won most of the votes in the June election and claimed the right to govern.

East Timor's Foreign Minister Zacarias da Costa, who addressed the council, said that the protests in two districts resulted in 323 houses burned to the ground, affecting some 6,000 people in the impoverished country of 1 million. This was in addition to some 100,000 people without homes.

The statement, read by Council President Jean-Maurice Ripert of France, called on "the people of Timor-Leste to refrain from violence and work together in order to ensure security."

The Security Council also reaffirmed "the need for justice and accountability" after Indonesia, a member of the council, deleted any reference to "past crimes." Compared to a resolution all 15 council members have to approve a statement.

A commission has been set up by Indonesia and East Timor to look into events surrounding the independence vote, which the United Nations is boycotting because it can recommend amnesty for serious crimes against humanity.

Human rights and Timorese victims groups have criticized the commission for not challenging witnesses and checking facts. They say the truth was being distorted, particularly by those blaming the United Nations for inciting violence when it organized the independence referendum.

In 1999, after Timorese voted for independence from Indonesia under U.N. supervision, rioters killed thousands, left few buildings standing and forced 250,000 people from their homes.

The rampage was conducted by pro-Jakarta militia, with support of the Indonesian military based in Timor. [Wire services keep getting this backwards. The militia were the support. - ETAN]

Australia sent in troops to restore order, replaced a few months later by U.N. peacekeepers in the former Portuguese colony that Indonesia invaded in December 1975.

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UN Security Council urges an end to violent attacks in East Timor

Associated Press

September 10, 2007

UNITED NATIONS: The U.N. Security Council urged East Timor's residents to stop the violent attacks that have broken out since independence hero Xanana Gusmao was appointed prime minister last month.

Supporters of the former ruling Fretilin party were enraged on Aug. 6 when Gusmao was named the head of the government despite the fact Fretilin won the most votes in June elections.

Bands of rampaging youths, some wielding machetes and steel darts and bows, have clashed in the streets, looted business, thrown rocks at police and set fire to homes.

More than 300 homes, schools, aid agencies and offices were burned in two eastern districts, affecting 6,000 people, East Timor's Foreign Minister Zacarias da Costa told the council.

In a statement Monday, the Security Council called on East Timor's rival political parties to work to promote national reconciliation, democracy and sustainable social and economic development.

"The Security Council emphasizes the need for all parties to resolve any disputes through exclusively peaceful channels and within the framework of democratic institutions," it read.

East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, broke free from decades of brutal Indonesian rule in 1999 and formally declared statehood three years later. It descended into chaos last April when communal violence left 37 people dead and sent 155,000 people fleeing their homes.

Da Costa said the people's lack of skills and training, coupled with the country's fragile institutions, "undermines the building of a culture of peaceful settlements of conflicts."

"Justice is crucial also for building respect for the rule of law, which is undermined by a widespread perception of lack of accountability," he said


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