|Subject: RT: UN Council Tells Jakarta To Stop
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 09:36:03 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
06:37 p.m Jul 13, 1999 Eastern
UN Council Tells Jakarta To Stop E.Timor Violence
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Security Council members Tuesday called on Indonesia to urgently improve security in East Timor where violence threatens to halt a U.N.-sponsored August ballot on the territory's future.
``Members of the council called on the Indonesian authorities urgently to make concrete progress on improving the security situation in East Timor'' so arrangements for the vote could take place in time, Council President Agam Hasmy of Malaysia said.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan has postponed the ballot once, and over the weekend delayed the start of voter registration from Tuesday to Friday because of the violence that has included militia attacks on U.N. staff in East Timor.
The ballot would allow the people of East Timor, which has a population of 800,000, to vote on independence or autonomy within Indonesia whose army invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975.
The government of President B.J. Habibie decided in January to let the territory go if East Timorese rejected autonomy. Since then violence, mainly by anti-independence militias, has escalated with U.N. staff one of its targets.
Hasmy said council members welcomed Monday's high-level visit by 13 Indonesian cabinet ministers to East Timor in support of the election process.
But he said the council was concerned that attacks on U.N. staff ``highlighted the larger problem of militia impunity.''
Annan, in a weekend letter to the council, said the delay in voter registration should give Indonesian authorities enough time to take steps toward improving security.
The vote was originally scheduled for Aug. 8 but delayed until Aug. 21, the date Indonesia wants, or Aug. 22, the date the United Nations prefers.
U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said Annan would consider the date of the ballot after deciding whether voter registration could go ahead.
``We hope we don't have to have any changes but that is being reviewed'' by U.N. officials in East Timor, he said.