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Annan's Special Rep Meets Group in Timor-Leste

Annan’s Special Representative Meets Group in Timor-Leste in Effort to End Dispute

New York, Jun 5 2006 6:00PM

As part of ongoing efforts to end the unrest in Timor-Leste, the Secretary-General's Special Representative today flew to the mountain headquarters of an armed group that has demanded the removal of the Prime Minister, while on the humanitarian front United Nations agencies report that food aid is now being supplied to refugee camps further from the capital.

Sukehiro Hasegawa joined Timor-Leste’s Foreign Minister, José Ramos-Horta, who has also been given the Defence Ministry portfolio, in the visit to Gleno, in the nation's west, to meet with leaders claiming to speak for the people of 10 western districts in their demands for the dismissal of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, a UN spokesman told reporters.

Mr. Hasegawa “reported telling the meeting that if a process of transition is attempted with violence, then many more people will suffer and leaders may not escape responsibility,” said UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, adding that the meeting was part of a series that the Special Representative has undertaken to bring a peaceful end to the recent disturbances in Timor-Leste.

On the humanitarian front, UN agencies report that food has been safely supplied to camps in districts to the west and east of Dili, as the combined assistance to more than 100,000 displaced persons reaches further from the capital. The food is supplied by the Government and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and delivered in trucks provided by the International Organization for Migration.

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) also reports that its airlift of family tents, plastic sheets, and jerry cans has arrived in Dili and is to be moved out to the camps, which have been set up to care for the displaced who have been uprooted in recent weeks through turmoil caused by the dismissal of a third of the armed forces of the tiny country that the UN shepherded to independence from Indonesia in 2002.

Mr. Dujarric also told reporters that Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Envoy to Timor-Leste, Ian Martin, is wrapping up his meetings with various Timorese leaders today and would brief the Secretary-General and the Security Council when he comes to New York later this week.

Asked about the growing call for UN peacekeepers to return to the country, the spokesman said that after the briefing from Mr. Martin the Security Council would then have to discuss what kind of posture the world body should have in the country. The mandate for the UN mission in Timor-Leste is due to expire on 20 June.

Last week, Mr. Annan broadcast a video message to the people of Timor-Leste – the newest Member State of the UN – calling on them not to despair but to “stand up against anyone who tries to divide you on regional or ethnic lines.”


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