|Subject: SMH: UN says no to call for local vote
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 1999 09:30:24 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, August 12, 1999
UN says no to call for local vote tally
By MARK DODD in Dili and PETER COLE-ADAMS
The United Nations has rejected a demand by Indonesia that the UN provide a breakdown of how various districts voted after the referendum on August 30.
Some political analysts believe a district-by-district breakdown could serve demands by hardline militia groups for a pro-Indonesia breakaway region within East Timor if the vote is won by the independence side.
At a news conference yesterday, the spokesman for the Indonesian task force in Dili, Mr Dino Djalal, said a single tally would be unacceptable.
"There must be a breakdown of these numbers because many people in these regions have asked that they also need to know how their regions voted in this process," Mr Djalal said. "At the vote counting there must be representatives from both parties."
However, the UN mission in East Timor, UNAMET, will announce the referendum result in the capital, Dili, and it will not include a breakdown of votes by district, its spokesman, Mr David Wimhurst, said.
"There has been no change. Our intention is to issue a single and final count for all of East Timor," Mr Wimhurst said. The UN would not even compile a confidential report detailing district level voting patterns.
"Our concern has always been that threats made against people concerning the way they vote could, if we publish voting patterns at a district, sub-district or even village level, be used to provoke violence," he said.
"Secondly - this is a vote for the whole of East Timor and not which part of East Timor votes which way. We [the UN] considered the best practice would be to announce one result for the whole of East Timor."
In Canberra, a senior Australian government source said Indonesia had not yet agreed to the proposed big increase in military liaison officers in East Timor from 50 to 300 (first reported in the Herald last Friday), and wanted more time to consider it.
However, he was hopeful that Jakarta would eventually agree to a substantial increase. He did not think the Indonesians had any problem in principle with the planned boost to the number of UN civilian police during the second, post-ballot phase of the territory's transition to independence or autonomy.
The source also predicted that the UN security force required in the third phase of the transition, after the expected "yes" vote for independence is endorsed by Indonesia's People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), would involve thousands of troops and police.
The source was cautiously positive about the security situation, saying there seemed to be a good chance that it would be "relatively benign". He thought the Indonesian military would pull out fairly quickly once the post-MPR phase three began.
He raised the possibility that many leaders of the pro-Indonesian militia would leave East Timor if the ballot came out for independence, with the militia themselves quickly dissipating.