Subject: Indon vows to stop militia attacks in E.Timor; Wahid visit Feb 24

also: Wahid expected to visit East Timor on February 24

Indonesia vows to stop militia attacks in E.Timor

BATUGADE, East Timor, Jan 27 (Reuters) - A senior Indonesian army officer on Thursday vowed to step up security to try to stop armed incursions by pro-Jakarta militias into East Timor.

"(The Indonesian military)... will work hard to stop the border incursions," Major-General Kiki Syahnakri told reporters in Batugade after meeting senior members of the U.N.-mandated force overseeing East Timor.

The militias have clashed with foreign troops in the coastal enclave of Oecussi, surrounded on three sides by Indonesian West Timor, several times recently.

Syahnakri said he would boost the number of Indonesian troops (TNI) guarding the border.

The Australian commander of the U.N.-backed INTERFET force, Major-General Peter Cosgrove, said he was confident Syahnakri's measures would improve security in Oecussi.

"General Syahnakri has accepted that the TNI (Indonesian armed forces) on the border must focus their efforts on preventing any of these further organised, armed incursions into Oecussi," Cosgrove said.

Asked if Syahnakri accepted claims his soldiers were colluding with the militias, he said: "I think it is taking it a bit far to say that. Nonetheless, it is clear... he's acknowledged there is a significant problem that must be fixed."

Indonesia also agreed to investigate militia leader Moko Soares, accused of being behind attacks in Oecussi last week.

Around 720 Jordanians will arrive in the enclave as part of an 8,900-strong U.N. peacekeeping force at the end of February to replace INTERFET.

U.N. peacekeeping force commander Lieutenant-General Jaime Delos Santos, who arrived in Dili on Wednesday, said the enclave would be his major concern.

"This could be a possible flashpoint if it is not properly managed," he told Reuters on Thursday. "We shall maintain a strong force in the border as a deterrent."

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PRESIDENT WAHID EXPECTED IN E TIMOR ON FEB 24

Jakarta, Jan 27 (ANTARA) - President Abdurrahman Wahid is expected to visit East Timor next February 24, a House of Representatives (DPR) member said here Wednesday citing information given by the chief of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) Sergio Viera de Mello.

De Mello mentioned President Abdurahman Wahid`s plan to visit East Timor at a meeting with House Speaker Akbar Tandjung, according to House member Yasril Ananta Baharudin who attended the meeting.

Yasril, who is chairman of the House`s Commission I (defence and foreign affairs), said De Mello had also invited Tandjung to visit East Timor either during a visit by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to the territory on Feb 18 or during that by President Abdurahman Wahid.

The UNTAET chief had also indicated that the administration was determined to help build East Timor and bring the region to full independence, Yasril said.

One of UNTAET`s important efforts was inviting all political groupings in the territory to form a 15-member National Consultative Council in which the pro-independence CNRT, the UNTAET as well as the pro-integration group were represented.

The council was expected to be able to draft and make policies until a general election was held in the runup to full independence.

De Mello was asked about the limited access UNTAET had granted recently to a team of Indonesian lawyers defending senior military officers accused of responsibility for post-ballot human rights` violations in East Timor.

He said his office had facilitated the lawyers` team`s visit in East Timor to maximum extent.

About the team`s failure to meet the East Timorese people`s spiritual leader, Bishop Belo, and political leader, Xanana Gusmao, De Mello said the two figures seemed unwilling to meet the team and UNTAET could not do anything about it.

De Mello confirmed that the team was not allowed to visit certain areas in East Timor. But the restriction was applied because of security considerations, he said.


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