Subject: UN: May 24 Press Briefing Transcript
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:39:20 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

24 May 1999 Press Briefing



The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today's noon briefing by Manoel de Almeida e Silva, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

**East Timor

The Secretary-General's report on East Timor is out today. It's available on the racks. In the report, the Secretary-General proposes establishment of the United Nations Mission in East Timor, UNAMET, composed of 241 international staff, 420 United Nations Volunteers, up to 280 civilian police, as well as 4,000 local staff. The report reiterates that security in East Timor is the responsibility of the Indonesian authorities and that the local police are responsible for the maintenance of law and order. On the security situation, the report notes there are continued credible reports of political violence, including intimidation and killings by armed militias against unarmed pro- independence civilians. The report also has details on the modalities of the consultation process, and it also refers to the appointment of Ian Martin as Special Representative for East Timor, for the East Timor Popular Consultation and head of UNAMET. Ambassador Jamsheed Marker will continue to serve as the Secretary-General's Personal Representative for East Timor.

Still on East Timor, on deployments, I'd like to inform you that a cargo flight, carrying communications equipment and data processing equipment, has arrived in Dili from the United Nations Logistics Base at Brindisi, Italy, along with nine technical personnel. That brings to 23 the total number of

Daily Press Briefing - 3 - 24 May 1999

United Nations international staff in place in East Timor. Another cargo flight is being scheduled in the next few days.

Daily Press Briefing - 5 - 24 May 1999

**Staff Assignment

Our colleague Rolando Gomez is off for East Timor. He'll be joining David Wimhurst and the Public Information Team there. He'll be there for three months. And if you have questions on the issues you normally asked him, we will be covering his absence as best as we can, and you can call our general numbers 963-7161 or 62.

Question-and-Answer Session

Question: A couple of questions on East Timor. On the Secretary- General's report, he said that despite security assurances, it's still a tense and volatile situation in East Timor. Does he now feel there might be a necessity for something beyond just a civilian police observer mission, perhaps, even peacekeepers?

Deputy Spokesman: Well, in the report itself there is a reference of his intention to consider military liaisons for the armed forces. But that's all we have.

Follow-up Question: What would they do?

Daily Press Briefing - 6 - 24 May 1999

Deputy Spokesman: They would liaise with the armed forces who are in East Timor. The armed forces have an important role there.

Follow-up Question: When would the 20-day registration period begin?

Deputy Spokesman: That is in the original timetable, which I brought here because I thought you would ask it. It's expected -- the preparation and registration is to go between 13 June and 17 July. The report also says everything is on schedule as of now.

Follow-up Question: When is the Council expected to take up this matter?

Deputy Spokesman: We don't know that yet.

Question: On East Timor, you said on Friday the United Nations didn't have any idea about the move up by one day in the election. Has anything changed?

Deputy Spokesman: We received a letter over the weekend or today from the Indonesians with that proposal. And we're looking at it. But it's certainly something that will have to involve the Portuguese side, as well. And the Secretary-General will also have to discuss it.

Question: On Ian Martin. Is there any background on who he is?

Deputy Spokesman: We'll be getting it. It was on its way when I came down for the briefing.

... Question: Regarding the East Timor military liaison, you got what the Security Council will take up as an agenda?

Deputy Spokesman: The Security Council will take the whole report and they will authorize, or not, but hopefully they will authorize the deployment of this mission, taking into consideration the proposals made by the Secretary-General on the different components. But the military liaison is not yet a component, it's just an intention, and he was just alerting the Council that was an intention he has, so that it could be considered.

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