World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Timor-Leste: Envoys Seek To Calm Tensions

Timor-Leste: As Demonstrators Mass, UN Envoys Seek To Calm Tensions

New York, Jun 29 2006

With thousands of demonstrators milling around in the Timor-Leste capital of Dili, United Nations envoys today stepped up their efforts to calm tensions and plan for a possible expanded UN police force in the small South-East Asian nation that the world body shepherded to independence from Indonesia just four years ago.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special representative in Timor-Leste Sukehiro Hasegawa called on political leaders to ensure that their followers and supporters restrain themselves from any behaviour that might result in violence amid tensions attributed to differences between eastern and western regions.

Some 3,000 demonstrators riding in 150 trucks descended on Dili Thursday in a show of support for former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri, who resigned Monday. They were escorted by troops from the Combined Task Force from Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Malaysia, invited in by the Government to help quell the violence.

On Monday, thousands of anti-Alkatiri demonstrators circulated throughout the city in a similar number of trucks.

The crisis erupted in late April with the dismissal of 600 soldiers, a third of the armed forces. Ensuing violence cost at least 37 lives and drove over 155,000 people, 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes into makeshift camps or to host families. Mr. Annan’s Special Envoy Ian Martin, who arrived in Dili on Monday, held a series of high-level meetings with government leaders on the next stages of the UN assistance, meeting with government ministers, including Senior Minister Jose Ramos-Horta and Minister of State Ana Pessoa.

In a separate meeting with President Xanana Gusmao, he and UN police advisor Mark Kroeker exchanged concrete ideas on the role of an expanded UN police force.

The world body first set up the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) in 1999 after the country voted for independence from Indonesia, which had taken it over at the end of Portugal’s colonial rule in 1974. Mr. Martin was Mr. Annan's Special Representative in the territory there at that time.

This robust structure was kept until independence in 2002, when UNTAET was replaced with a downsized operation, the UN Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET). This in turn was succeeded by the current, even smaller UN office in Timor-Leste (UNOTIL).

Violence yesterday, in which at least 20 houses were burned in Dili, threatened to hamper UN food distribution to tens of thousands of already hard-pressed people sheltered in displaced persons camps.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news