Subject: Indon sends letter to UN handing over East Timor: president

Indonesia sends letter to UN handing over East Timor: president

JAKARTA, Oct 26 (AFP) - Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid said on Tuesday he had sent a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan officially handing East Timor over to United Nations control.

"This morning, I sent a letter to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, (saying) that the Republic of Indonesia has ended its government in East Timor and that the government of East Timor be established soon," Wahid told journalists at the Merdeka Palace after the announcing his new cabinet lineup.

Former foreign minister Ali Alatas, replaced in the new cabinet by close Wahid associate Alwi Shihab, said the handing over of East Timor to the United Nations was done in a "very simple way."

"An exchange of the notes will be sufficient," Alatas said at the palace, adding there would be no need for a ceremonial handover.

Indonesia's highest legislative body, the People's Consultative Assembly, last Wednesday ratified the result of East Timor's overwhelming August 30 independence vote. A new decree passed by the assembly nullified a 1978 decree recognising the incorporation of the former Portuguese territory into Indonesia.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1975 and annexed it the following year in a move never recognized by the UN.

A transitional UN administration will run East Timor prior to full independence, preparations for which are already under way, and the last 1,000 Indonesian troops are reported ready to pull out of the former Portuguese colony.

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