Subject: AFP: First Portuguese observers arrive in East Timor
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 14:39:28 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

First Portuguese observers arrive in East Timor

DILI, East Timor, June 17 (AFP) - The first six members of the 40-strong Portuguese observer mission assigned to East Timor arrived here Thursday to monitor the August 8 vote on self determination.

The advance group, who flew in from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, were accompanied by Portuguese diplomat Afonso Malheiro, who said he would head the team until their designated leader arrives.

"The main priority for us right now is to assess the situation on the ground and to prepare the conditions for the installment of the other elements of the Portuguese observer team," Malheiro said.

"We will be very vigilant to see if there are any violations of the New York accord to inform the UN of those violations that might occur in order to help them to take the right decision."

The team, he said, would be in touch both with the Indonesian side and the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), which is conducting the vote on whether East Timorese want independence or autonomy under Indonesia.

Under a May agreement struck in New York by Portugal and Indonesia with the United Nations, provisions were made for both Indonesia and Portugal to send observer missions.

Diplomats in Jakarta have said the Portuguese civilian mission will be made up of 55 people, 40 of them stationed in East Timor and the others in Australia, Portugal and other areas where exiled East Timorese can vote.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and declared the former Portuguese colony its 27th province the following year in an act never recognized by the United Nations.

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