|Subject: AFP: "Positive" reactions to UN
proposals on ETimor security
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 09:34:59 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Positive" reactions to UN proposals on ETimor security
UNITED NATIONS, July 16 (AFP) - Indonesia and Portugal have reacted positively to new UN proposals to beef up security in East Timor immediately after a ballot on the territory's future status, a UN envoy said Friday.
"We anticipate some form of increased security" after the vote, UN special representative Jamsheed Marker told reporters after winding up two days of talks here with senior officials from the Portuguese and Indonesian foreign ministry.
The run-up to the vote has been plagued by violence carried out by pro-Indonesian militias who have been intimidating voters and harassing UN personnel.
Voter registration began Friday after UN chief Kofi Annan received "positive assurances" that Jakarta would rein in the militias.
Marker said that reaction to the draft UN proposals presented to the two delegations was "very positive, by both sides."
But he gave no details about the increased security he said would be required during the transitional period after the ballot, to be held on August 21 or 22.
The East Timorese are to vote on whether the former Portuguese colony, annexed by Indonesia in 1976, should remain part of Indonesia with wide-ranging autonomy, or move towards independence.
Portuguese chief delegate Fernando Neves told AFP he expected Annan to present proposals to the UN Security Council on extending the UN mission in East Timor, which is responsible for conducting the vote, even before the ballot.
The UN mission's mandate runs until August 31, and includes some 900 people including 270 civilian police and 50 military observers.
Neves noted that during the transition period, Indonesia would continue to be responsible for security in the territory.
"We are extremely concerned about the clear links between the militias and the TNI (the Indonesian military)," he said.
"We think that the phase immediately after the ballot until we start implementing either option is particularly risk-prone, because those who see their expectations frustrated can react in several ways," said Neves.