|Subject: IO: Habibie agrees on more UN police
Date: Sat, 14 Aug 1999 09:48:33 -0400
Indonesian Observer 13th August 1999
President agrees on more UN police
JAKARTA (IO) President BJ Habibie on Thursday approved UN Secretary General Kofi Annans proposal to increase the number of UN civilian police and military liaison officers for the UN-supervised direct ballot in East Timor.
"The additional UN civilian police and military liaison officers will have the same position and function (as the present UN civilian police and military liaison officers). There will be no change of function," Foreign Minister Ali Alatas told reporters after accompanying President Habibie in a meeting with the UN secretary generals special envoy for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker.
Alatas reiterated that what Jakarta agrees to is the addition of UN civilian police personnel, not an addition to their functions or duties.
"The civilian police will be civilian police, and military liaison officers will always be military liaison officers. They will never become a peacekeeping force," he said.
Alatas said this matter has been discussed with the UN and is now being discussed at senior official level.
"We all see the need for additional UN civilian police and military liaison officers in anticipation of the possibility of new tensions arising."
"But I can say that there is a clear indication that step by step, we (will have) a conducive situation ahead of the ballot, regardless of the final results, and we can manage the conducive situation for the sake of peace and reconciliation," he said.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his report to the UN Security Council has recommended an additional UN police and military liaison officers for East Timor after the vote.
In the report on UNAMETs role, he said that whatever the outcome of the ballot, the UN will double its efforts to build confidence and support secure conditions in the territory.
The UN will also guarantee that the losing camp will participate in determining the future of political life in East Timor, he said.
According to UN spokesman, Fred Eckhard, the number of UN civilian police will total 460, including 50 members from the local population.
The military liaison officers will be bolstered to 300 from the present 50 and they will act as mediators among the military, the pro-integration militia and the anti-integration group.
"They will give some advice on security affairs, including the disarmament process and also the withdrawal of Indonesian troops," he said.
On the situation after the ballot which Annan described as "rather delicate", Alatas said, "We all know that after the vote, and the results will be known in a few days, there will be a crucial time between the vote and confirmation of the ballot results by the Indonesian Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR)."
If in this crucial time, an armed conflict between the two rival camps in East Timor breaks out, it will set back all efforts to find a peaceful solution to the East Timor question, he added.
Commenting on his meeting with the head of state, Jamsheed Marker said they discussed a range of topics on East Timor.
He however refused to give details. "I cannot tell you before I report to the secretary general," he said.