|Subject: AFP: UN Security Council raps Indonesian
militia for ETimor attack
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:49:26 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
UN Security Council raps Indonesian militia for ETimor attack
UNITED NATIONS, July 6 (AFP) - The UN Security Council on Tuesday deplored an attack by Indonesian militias on a UN convoy and called for an "immediate halt" to violence and intimidation by the armed groups.
Reacting to Sunday's attack on a humanitarian convoy in western East Timor, during which several people were hurt, the 15 council members "deplored the attack by armed militias," council president Hasmy Agam told reporters after closed-door consultations.
They "demanded an immediate halt to the practice of violence and intimidation carried out by the militias," said Agam, the Malaysian ambassador.
The council also stressed that the Indonesian government had the responsibility to maintain peace and security in East Timor ahead of the UN-organized poll on the future of the former Portuguese territory which was annexed by Jakarta in 1976.
The poll, originally scheduled for August 8, has already been delayed for two weeks because of attacks by the pro-Jakarta militias apparently aimed at intimidating voters, a majority of whom favour independence for East Timor.
ETimor violence could prompt further delay in poll: UN
UNITED NATIONS, July 6 (AFP) - Violence in East Timor, where a UN convoy was attacked on Sunday, could further delay a UN-organised poll on the future of the Indonesian-ruled territory, a UN official warned Tuesday.
Alvaro de Soto, assistant secretary general for the Asia and Pacific region, said after briefing the UN Security Council that "delay in the establishment of conditions of security will unavoidably lead to slippage."
"We would have to consider suspending the electoral preparations as a whole if they do not improve fairly quickly."
De Soto noted that UN chief Kofi Annan is to make a determination on July 13 whether security conditions permit the poll to go ahead on schedule.
The East Timorese will be asked in the ballot whether they want the former Portuguese territory, annexed by Jakarta in 1976, to remain part of Indonesia or to become independent.
The vote, originally scheduled for August 8, has already been delayed by two weeks because of attacks by pro-Indonesian militia, armed by the military, in an apparent bid to intimidate voters in East Timor where the majority favours independence.
"If security conditions are not in place in the next few days we would have to postpone at the very least," De Soto said.
He added: "We are determined to do it (the poll). We very much want to do it. But we can only do it if security conditions exist."
On Sunday, several people were injured in the attack by a pro-Indonesian militia on a humanitarian food convoy accompanied by UN officers in the Liquisa district west of Dili.
Last week, about 100 militiamen attacked a UN outpost at Maliana, in East Timor.
The head of the UN mission in East Timor, Ian Martin, has criticised the "inexcusable" failure by Indonesian police to protect the UN convoy.
Indonesian authorities had turned down a UN request for a police escort, De Soto said.
Martin held talks in Jakarta on Tuesday with Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, who ruled out deployment of any UN troops to keep the peace in East Timor ahead of the vote.
The UN Security Council, briefed by De Soto behind closed doors, deplored the latest attack and "demanded an immediate halt to the practice of violence and intimidation carried out by the militias," said council president Hasmy Agam of Malaysia.
The council reminded Jakarta that it was up to Indonesia to maintain peace and security in the run-up to the ballot.
Responding to suggestions that elements of the Indonesian government were bent on ensuring the postponement or even cancellation of the ballot, De Soto said: "I refuse to accept that President (B.J.) Habibie's commitment on behalf of the Indonesian government is anything less than iron-clad."
"There may be others who do not agree with him but I will not speculate on that."