Subject: RT: Annan gives go-ahead for Timor voter registration
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 09:25:31 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Wednesday July 14, 7:24 pm Eastern Time

Annan gives go-ahead for Timor voter registration

UNITED NATIONS, July 14 (Reuters) - Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave the go-ahead on Wednesday for voter registration to begin in disputed East Timor in preparation for a crucial August ballot on the future of the territory.

But in a letter to the U.N. Security Council, he said the security situation was still too fragile for him to conclude conditions were safe enough for ``peaceful implementation of the (balloting) process throughout the territory.''

``I have decided to begin the registration based on positive assurances by the Indonesian authorities, on the condition that meaningful visible improvements in the security situation will be observed in the immediate future,'' Annan said.

The start of voter registration had been viewed as tantamount to allowing the vote to go ahead as scheduled on August 21 or August 22. But Annan's trepidation about whether conditions were safe enough for voters appeared to leave this question in doubt.

Annan had delayed voter registration by three days, from Tuesday to Friday, to give himself more time to evaluate the violence, mainly from pro-Jakarta militia who do not want to see the territory become independent.

The U.N.-organized ballot allows the people of East Timor to choose between independence or autonomy within Indonesia. Indonesia invaded the territory in 1975 and annexed it a year later in an action not recognized by the world community.

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