Subject: UN: Video-message from UNSG to people of East Timor
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 14:38:05 +0000
From: Charles Scheiner <>

The following message was recorded by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and broadcast to the people of East Timor by television and radio starting on 17 June 1999, local time.


It is a great pleasure for me to greet the people of East Timor. I wish to speak with you today about the historic process in which you are now engaged.

Just over a month ago -- on the fifth of May in New York -- the Governments of Indonesia and Portugal signed an Agreement entrusting me with the task of organizing and conducting a popular consultation in East Timor. This means that you -- the people of East Timor -- will have the opportunity to make an important choice about your future.

All East Timorese over 17 years of age will be able to cast a vote in the popular consultation organized by the United Nations.

I have appointed Mr. Ian Martin as my Special Representative to carry out the consultation process. Mr. Martin will lead UNAMET, the United Nations Mission in East Timor. Over the next few weeks, UNAMET personnel will help you understand the consultation process. They will provide information about the Agreement and the autonomy proposal. They will help you understand the choices you have. They will explain to you the voting procedures. They will explain how the United Nations intends to protect the secrecy of the ballot.

Today, I would like to stress some important points about the process, and about the role of the United Nations. First of all, the United Nations will conduct the consultation process in a completely impartial manner.

The United Nations is not in favour of, or against, any result. Our task is to make it possible for you -- the people of East Timor -- to make your own choice.

Your vote will be secret. No one will know, or ever find out, what choice you make. When the votes are counted, no one will know how any particular village or district has voted.

United Nations electoral experts will organize and conduct the consultation, coordinated by my Special Representative. United Nations personnel will register all those who have a right to vote. They will conduct the vote, count the ballots, and announce the result. They will make sure that the ballot papers and boxes are not tampered with.

I will soon appoint an independent Electoral Commission to monitor the electoral activities of UNAMET. The Electoral Commission will be the final authority on electoral justice, and will ensure the transparency and impartiality of all procedures and decisions.

Altogether, about 900 international personnel of the United Nations Mission will be sent to all parts of the territory of East Timor. Besides electoral personnel, UNAMET will have information personnel to help explain the process to you.

There will also be United Nations civilian police officers, from many different countries, who will advise the Indonesian police as they discharge their duties. United Nations military liaison officers from different countries will maintain contact with their Indonesian counterparts.

The Agreement between Indonesia and Portugal has set 8 August as the date for the consultation. The men and women of UNAMET, and all of us at the United Nations, are prepared to carry out our responsibilities impartially so that you can make your free choice.

The popular consultation is not about winning or losing a competition. It is your chance to settle the question of East Timor peacefully. It is your opportunity to launch a new era of reconciliation. Peace is a prize that all East Timorese can share. Now is the time for all of you, whatever outcome you favour, to play your part in bringing about dialogue and reconciliation.

The United Nations will work with both sides to advance the process of reconciliation so that regardless of the result, all sides will work toward a better future for East Timor.

Let us all join together to ensure the success of the consultation process. For that process to move forward, an atmosphere of security and peace is essential. Violence from all sides must stop. Faction leaders, who have a special responsibility to see that this happens, will have to show political maturity and statesmanship. I urge you all to show restraint and tolerance during this crucial period in your history. For its part, the United Nations will do its utmost to enable you, the people of East Timor, to express your will freely regarding your future.

Thank you.

Charles Scheiner, U.N. Representative International Federation for East Timor P.O. Box 1182, White Plains, New York 10602 USA Telephone:1-914-428-7299; fax:1-914-428-7383 PGP Key available on request. For information on East Timor write Check out ETAN's web site:

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