|Subject: AFP: East Timorese rebels vow to confine
troops to barracks: UN
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 1999 11:21:29 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
East Timorese rebels vow to confine troops to barracks: UN
JAKARTA, July 28 (AFP) - The armed East Timorese pro-independence movement has pledged to confine its troops to barracks to help ensure a peaceful ballot on the territory's future, a UN official said Wednesday.
The head of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), Ian Martin, said after meeting jailed Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao here that Falintil, the armed wing of the East Timorese pro-independence movement, had agreed to the move.
"One of the things that can contribute to the security situation is the agreement that Falintil has just made to canton its troops in a number of locations," Martin said.
"Falintil has made commitment to that and has asked the UNAMET to witness and verify that and I think that is an important step forward," he added.
Martin said UNAMET was still working closely with the Indonesian police to further improve security in East Timor.
"I have been talking to Xanana Gusmao about the implementation (of the agreement) and the commitments by TNI (the Indonesian army) and by the militia to cancel their men," Martin said.
His comments came as Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said in Singapore that the vote would be postponed again until August 30.
He said he had been informed of the new date by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan who said Tuesday in Washington that he would decide over the next few days whether or not to put off the ballot which had been planned for August 21 and 22
On Monday Annan decided to continue preparations for the vote, which will allow the Timorese to choose between independence or autonomy under continued Indonesian control.
Annan said the vote was conditional on the Indonesian authorities improving the security conditions on Timor, which he said were not good enough for a fair vote.
Violence and tension have risen in East Timor since Indonesia said in January that it may free the former Portuguese colony it annexed in 1976, if the people there reject an offer of broad autonomy under Indonesia.
Under an agreement signed between Indonesia and Portugal at the United Nations in May, they agreed to a UN-supervised ballot to determine whether people accept or reject the offer of autonomy.