Subject: Indonesia Officially Transfers Authority Over E Timor To UN

Indonesia Officially Transfers Authority Over E Timor To UN

NEW YORK, Oct 29 Asia Pulse - Indonesia officially transfered authority over East Timor to the United Nations, as marked with the handing over of a document from President Abdurahman Wahid to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, on Thursday.

Albeit the transfer was not conducted in a special ceremony, the UN office invited a number of journalists and television cameramen to cover this historic event.

The event is enshrined as the return of East Timor's status to the era of July, 1976, when the territory reportedly had no self-government.

In an interview with ANTARA, Indonesian ambassador to the UN, Makarim Wibisono, said his side was instructed by Jakarta to give President Abdurahman Wahid's letter, which in fact is decree no. V/MPR/1999, regarding the People's Consultative Assembly's (MPR) ratification of the August 30 ballot outcome to Kofi Annan.

In a letter dated October 25, 1999, the Indonesian President informed that on October 19, Indonesia's Assembly (MPR) approved the decree, thus ratifying the result of the August 30 ballot.

Based on the issuance of a new decree, the previous decree, no.VI/MPR/1978, on the integration of East Timor into Indonesia, is now totally void.

By doing so, Indonesia has implemented a constitutional step in line with chapter 6 of an agreement made May 5 in New York, thus marking the cut off of relations with East Timor. Based on the new decree, Indonesia has let the status of East Timor return to the past condition of July 17, 1976, at the time the territory had no self-government.

Pursuant to chapter 6, the governments of Indonesia and Portugal, including the UN Secretary General, will commit to regulations on the amicable transfer of authority of East Timor to the UN.

At the end of the letter, Gus Dur also said that the Indonesian President's letter and UN Secretary General's reply will be the basis for the preparation of authority transfer to the UN, as already mentioned in chapter 6.

The chapter underlined that the UN Secretary General, after securing a legislative mandate, will adhere to procedures which possibly usher East Timor to the start of a transitional process toward independence.

By that point, the transfer of authority will effectively come into force at the time the UN Secretary General replies to the Indonesian President's letter.

After receiving the letter, Kofi Annan told Ambassador Makarim that he would review it, and promised to give a reply as soon as possible.

On the occasion, Annan also gave a message of congratulations to President Abdurahman Wahid, Vice President Megawati, and the new Indonesian government that have been elected in such a democratic way.

He also expressed his hope that Indonesia under the leadership of a new government can make further progress in many fields in the years to come.

According to Makarim, Annan also has shown an indication that his side is ready to visit Indonesia and East Timor. But there is as yet no confirmation on the exact schedule of his visit.

"It will expectedly be conducted in the near future. It could be this year or next year," the Ambassador explained.

During the Soeharto and Habibie administrations, Kofi Annan never visited Indonesia, nor East Timor. With the settlement of the East Timor issue, Annan expressed his intention to visit both Indonesia and East Timor.


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