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UN On East Timor

Extract from United Nations Releases

From Daily Highlights

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has proposed a three-day postponement of the start of voter registration in a UN-organized ballot on the future of East Timor to allow time for the Indonesian government to resolve the remaining security problems.

In a letter sent to the Security Council over the weekend, the Secretary-General said that in rescheduling the launch of registration to 16 July he had to weigh his determination to move ahead against the conditions prevailing on the ground.

"It is essential that steps be taken to ensure that the people of East Timor are able to participate in safety and free of intimidation in the popular consultation," the Secretary-General wrote, noting that despite some improvements in the capital, Dili, in East Timor as a whole and especially in western districts the security situation remained "serious".

Mr. Annan stressed, however, that he remained fully confident that the Indonesian authorities had the capacity to take meaningful steps in a short period of time that would allow him to make a determination to proceed with the operational phases of the consultation process.

Meanwhile in East Timor, Mr. Annan's announcement was the subject of a meeting Monday morning between Secretary-General's representatives in the territory with the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Ali Alatas, and other senior Indonesian officials concerned with the upcoming ballot.

According to UNMET, Minister Alatas said that a number of people were being investigated by the Indonesian authorities for their alleged involvement in the recent incidents in Maliana and Liquica and that action would be taken to prevent illegal roadblocks being set up in East Timor.

On Wednesday, Ian Martin, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General is scheduled to meet with the Indonesian Task Force to assess the progress in addressing the security situation.

Extract from press briefing from the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General

East Timor

The Secretary-General wrote to the Security Council on Saturday to inform members that the registration of voters for the East Timor popular consultation should start on Friday, 16 July, and not tomorrow. His decision took into consideration the security situation in the territory, which remains a serious concern. The Secretary-General expressed his full confidence that the Indonesian authorities have the capacity to take meaningful steps that would allow him to make a determination to proceed with the operational phases of the consultation process. That determination is expected to happen on or before 16 July.

It was announced today in Dili, the East Timorese capital, that the Secretary-General's Special Representative Ian Martin will meet on Wednesday with the Indonesian task force to assess progress achieved in that direction.

In his letter to the Council, the Secretary-General also reiterated his earnest desire to carry out responsibilities entrusted to him with all determination so that the people of East Timor can express their wishes as to the future of the territory.

Today, during a visit of several Indonesian Cabinet members to Dili, Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and other senior Indonesian officials met with Mr. Martin, Francesc Vendrell -- Director of the Asia Division of the Department of Political Affairs, and recently appointed Deputy Personal Representative of the Secretary-General -- and the Police Commissioner of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), Alan Mills. The meeting lasted for some 45 minutes, and Minister Alatas said that a number of people were being investigated by the Indonesian authorities for their alleged involvement in the recent incidents in Maliana and Liquiçá.

If you wish more details, please look at the transcript of the briefing held this morning in Dili. It is available in the Spokeman's Office.

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