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UN Statements On East Timor - Daily Highlights

UN Statements On East Timor - Daily Highlights

Headlines:
1. Security Council mission en route to Jakarta as Secretary-General confers with world leaders on ways of stopping violence in East Timor.
2. UN staff in East Timor seek safety in guarded compound as Indonesia declares martial law to control rampaging militia
3. Meeting on outcome of East Timor poll, Security Council members welcome success of ballot, call on parties to respect results.

Security Council mission en route to Jakarta as Secretary-General confers with world leaders on ways of stopping violence in East Timor.

A Security Council mission to convey the international community's "serious concern" about the worsening situation in East Timor is on its way to Indonesia and is expected to arrive in Jakarta early Wednesday morning, a United Nations spokesman said on Tuesday.

The mission, which is headed by Namibia's UN ambassador Martin Andjaba and includes representatives of Malaysia, Slovenia, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, left New York on Monday night following a briefing by the Secretary-General on the latest developments in East Timor and his discussions on ways to resolve the crisis.

Mr. Annan, in part, had several telephone conversations with Indonesian President B.J. Habibie, to discuss the importance of bringing the situation in East Timor under control as soon as possible. In a statement issued on Monday, the Secretary-General said the two men agreed on the need for further urgent steps to restore law and order and secure the safety of United Nations personnel and all East Timorese.

"I hope that such steps will have an immediate positive effect, for it is essential that militia violence and intimidation be brought under control," the Secretary-General said. "The present chaos in East Timor cannot be allowed to fester any longer."

The Secretary-General also noted that his Personal Representative for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker, had met in person with President Habibie in Jakarta on Monday to follow up on Mr. Annan's concerns.

The Secretary-General was also in contact with President Clinton, Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand, the President and Prime Minister of Portugal and other world leaders on this issue.

"I've been on the phone with lots of leaders and lots of countries trying to pool our efforts to be able to assist the Indonesian Government and bring the situation under control," Mr. Annan told the UN press corps on Monday.

UN staff in East Timor seek safety in guarded compound as Indonesia declares martial law to control rampaging militia.

With martial law declared in East Timor in a last-ditch effort to reign in the rampaging militia, the United Nations moved its personnel Tuesday to the safety of its compound in the territory's capital, a UN spokesman said in New York today.

About 215 international and 120 local UN staff have been confined to the headquarters of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) in the territory's capital Dili, said spokesman Fred Eckhard. According to Mr. Eckhard, the UN staff are sharing quarters with about 2,000 internally displaced persons, who are being cared for by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The compound area is now being guarded by the Indonesian military.

Citing UNAMET sources, the spokesman said one could see Government buildings burning in downtown Dili and there were reports of widespread looting by the militia as well as the forced transport of thousands of civilians to West Timor.

Meanwhile in Geneva, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, urged the UN Commission on Human Rights to consider holding a special session to examine the "extremely serious" situation in East Timor.

Mrs. Robinson told the Commission's bureau that the ongoing violation of the right to self-determination of the East Timorese, a continuing mass exodus and arbitrary execution of civilians warranted her raising the issue of a special session, even though the request for such a meeting must come from a Member State of the United Nations.

In the last decade, the Commission has held only three special sessions: in 1992 and 1993 on the former Yugoslavia and in 1994 on Rwanda.

Meeting on outcome of East Timor poll, Security Council members welcome success of ballot, call on parties to respect results.

Members of the Security Council have condemned "in the strongest terms" the intensifying violence in East Timor after the results of last week's ballot showed an overwhelming majority rejecting an autonomy proposal for the troubled territory.

In a press statement following an emergency meeting of the Council on Sunday, Council President Ambassador Peter van Walsum of the Netherlands said the members were planning to dispatch a mission to discuss with the Indonesian Government "concrete steps" to allow the peaceful implementation of the ballot results.

Council members stressed again the Government's responsibility to guarantee peace and security in the territory as well as the safety of personnel with the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), Ambassador van Walsum said.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan had announced last Friday that 78.5 per cent of East Timorese voted against a plan that would grant the territory autonomy within Indonesia. Under the UN-brokered agreement, the Government is to begin a series of constitutional steps to grant East Timor full independence.

In his address Friday evening to the Council, the Secretary-General had said that there were no winners and no losers in the outcome; rather it was an opportunity for all East Timorese to forge a common future.

Mr. Annan called for an end to the 24 years of violence in East Timor and asked all parties to begin in earnest a process of dialogue and reconciliation.

On Friday, in its first reaction to the ballot's outcome, the Security Council welcomed the popular consultation and called on all parties to respect the results. The Council also urged the East Timorese to work together to implement the decision and to cooperate in building peace and prosperity in the territory.

At the same time, in the Presidential statement by Ambassador van Walsum after two urgent meetings late Friday evening, the Council condemned the violence that had plagued East Timor both before and after the 30 August ballot. The results needed to be implemented "in an atmosphere of peace and security without further violence and intimidation," the Council said.

ENDS

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