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UN East Timor Briefing

Release From UNAMET

UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN EAST TIMOR Misi Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa Di Timor Timur

Briefing Summary for Thursday, 8 July

The Acting Spokesman Hiro Ueki announced that the Special Representative would be returning to Dili from Jakarta today. Mr. Francesc Vendrell, the Deputy Personal Representative of the Secretary-General, and Brigadier General Rezaqul Haider, the Chief Military Liaison Officer, will accompany him. He added that Mr. Vendrell will be in Dili until Sunday and would try to speak to the press before departing.

The Acting Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Tim Fischer, visited the UNAMET office in Darwin this morning and met with UN staff, the Australian Electoral Commission and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Mr. Fischer stated, "the Australian Government is fully committed to the popular consultation and will continue to support UNAMET in its efforts to organize and hold the vote". He showed a keen interest in UNAMET's activities, asking questions about the deployment of personnel, UN air operations and the supply of equipment to the mission. Mr. Fischer also expressed his government's concern about the security situation in East Timor. His meeting with UNAMET, the IOM and the Australian Election Commission officials lasted about 20 minutes. (The IOM is responsible for voter registration and polling by East Timorese living in Indonesia, Macau, Mozambique, Portugal and the United States. The Australian Electoral Commission is organizing registration and voting in the East Timorese communities in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Darwin).

The first 40 election kits are arriving this morning from Darwin. These kits include all the necessary ingredients to establish a polling booth, including tamper evident bags and UV (ultra-violet) lamps that show up the invisible ink that will be put on the finger of each person as they vote, through to exercise books and staples. The kits arriving today are destined for the Dili region. The Chief Electoral Officer, Jeff Fischer, will be at the airport to receive the kits.

At 11.00 hrs this morning 15 MLOs are due to arrive in Dili from Darwin. Their national breakdown is as follows: 1 - Australia; 5 - Brazil; 2 - Malaysia; 2 - Thailand; 2 - United Kingdom; 3 - United States. All the MLOs will be deployed by 12 July.

A correspondent asked how many UNAMET staff were currently deployed. As of today, the breakdown is as follows: 195 international civilian staff, 152 CivPol, 33 Military Liaison Officers, 244 UNVs and 449 local staff.

A correspondent asked when David Wimhurst, UNAMET Spokesman, would be returning. Mr. Ueki said he would be returning tomorrow from Darwin.

The Acting Spokesman was asked what security phase UNAMET was currently at. He said UNAMET was currently at phase one. He added, there were five phases of security, one being the lowest and five being the highest, which meant total evacuation of staff.

Mr. Ueki was then asked when he expected the Special Representative's recommendation to go to the Secretary-General and then onto the Security Council. He said, Mr. Martin would be reporting to the Secretary-General within the next few days.

A correspondent asked when the office in Liquica might be reopened. The Acting Spokesman said UNAMET's security team returned to Liquica this morning where they would be checking the security situation and accommodations. "We hope, should the necessary conditions exist, to re-deploy our personnel as soon as possible."

The Acting Spokesman was asked if Ian Martin would have a press conference upon his arrival from Jakarta to brief the press on his talks there. He said there wouldn't be a press conference but Mr. Martin will be happy to answer questions from the press at a stakeout.

A correspondent asked whether Ian Martin met with Ali Alatas, Indonesian Foreign Minister. The Acting Spokesman said the Special Representative wasn't able to meet with Ali Alatas because he was engaged in other meetings in Parliament. He added, the purpose of Mr. Martin's trip was to express the UN's security concerns and his meeting with General Wiranto and the Head of the Indonesian Police achieved that purpose.

If the current security situation persisted could Mr. Martin make a recommendation for the registration process to go ahead as scheduled, a correspondent asked. Mr. Ueki said, Mr. Vendrell and Mr. Martin would be traveling to the field tomorrow to get a firsthand assessment from various regions. On the basis of their trip they will be in a position to report to the Secretary-General and make a recommendation.

A correspondent asked the Acting Spokesman if he had any reaction to the reports yesterday when the Indonesians said they were considering withdrawing cooperation or boycotting the ballot because of bias in the UN. Mr. Ueki said he hoped that once the security situation permitted the registration and the ballot would be able to move ahead. He added, "we will have to wait until the security assessment is made in the next few days".

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