Subject: RT: Marker wants troop withdrawal
Date: Wed, 22 Jul 1998 08:49:32 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
U.N. would like Indonesia
E.Timor troop withdrawal
JAKARTA, July 22 (Reuters) - U.N. special envoy Jamsheed Marker said on Wednesday some Indonesian troops should be withdrawn from East Timor to build confidence there, but added a certain number would be necessary to maintain peace in the troubled territory.
``I think that the withdrawal of some troops will serve as a very important confidence building measure,'' he told an airport news conference at the end of a six-day visit to Indonesia.
But he said it was obvious arrangements had to be made to made to maintain security and peace in the former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1976.
``For that purpose, a certain number of troops will be necessary. This is something that has to be worked out, but clearly all the troops cannot be withdrawn,'' he said.
Marker said he had made that point in discussions with various groups during a brief visit on Sunday to East Timor.
He said it was evident there was ``quite a lot of tension...and it's important that this should be reduced.'' But he added he did not get the impression that there was a desire to continue armed conflict in East Timor.
Indonesia invaded the territory in December 1975 and annexed it the following July. The armed forces (ABRI) have basically controlled East Timor since then and human rights organisations have accused ABRI of a long string of human rights violations.
Human rights groups have estimated about 200,000 people died in the 1975 invasion and as a result of starvation and hardship in subsequent years.
The local military commander has said there are currently 12,000 troops and police -- who are part of the armed forces -- in the territory of 800,000 people.
Marker arrived in Indonesia last Thursday to brief leaders here on Portugal's reaction to Jakarta's latest proposals for what he called a wide measure of autonomy for East Timor.
Both Marker and Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas have described Lisbon's reaction as positive in the light of recent developments in Indonesia.
The latest proposals on East Timor came after hardline former president Suharto was replaced by B.J. Habibie as head of state on May 21.
Alatas and his Portuguese counterpart Jamie Gama are due to meet with U.N. Secre tary-General Kofi Annan in New York on August 4 to discuss the proposals.
Marker told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that Alatas would be asked to flesh out the proposals and answer questions on various aspects of the issue.
``Hopefully, at the end of that we will arrive at certain decisions for taking constructive measures towards reaching a just and amicable solution to the problem of East Timor,'' he told the Wednesday news conference.
A proposal that the two countries establish special interest sections in friendly embassies in each other's capitals would also be discussed, he said.
The U.N. special envoy, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations, said he had discussed the demilitarisation of East Timor with Indonesia's armed forces commander and defence minister, General Wiranto.
``All I can say is that I am very satisfied with the attitude, not just of the government, but also all the other leaders that I met.
``There seems to me that there is an earnest desire for a peaceful, and I stress that, a peaceful resolution of the problem of East Timor,'' he said.