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UN Secretary-General Expresses Extreme Concern

7 September 1999

Press Release




The following is a statement by Secretary-General Kofi Annan on East Timor, which was issued on Monday, 6 September:

Yesterday evening, the Secretariat briefed the Security Council on the continuing deterioration of the situation in East Timor. The Council then decided to dispatch a mission to Indonesia to relay its serious concern to the Government of Indonesia regarding current developments. This mission will be leaving tonight and will be led by the Permanent Representative of Namibia. Its members will include the Permanent Representatives of Malaysia, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, as well as the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Netherlands.

This afternoon, I provided the mission with a further briefing on developments in East Timor in the last 24 hours. I informed the team that I had been in telephone contact several times with President Habibie to discuss the importance of bringing the situation under control as soon as possible. I have also been in contact with President Clinton, Prime Minister Howard of Australia, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, the President and Prime Minister of Portugal and other world leaders on this issue. In the meantime, my Personal Representative for East Timor, Jamsheed Marker, met in person with President Habibie in Jakarta today to follow up my concerns.

President Habibie and I agreed on the need for further measures to be taken urgently to restore law and order in East Timor, and secure the safety of UNAMET 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 present chaos in East Timor cannot be allowed to fester any longer.

I am extremely concerned over recent and current developments in East Timor. I condemn, in the strongest possible terms, today's attack on the Dili compound of the International Committee of the Red Cross and on the residence of Bishop Belo. I am also outraged that internally displaced persona are being forced by militias into trucks and taken away against their will to unknown destinations.


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