Subject: UN Will Not Monitor Registration Of Refugees In W Timor

Associated Press May 18, 2001

UN Will Not Monitor Registration Of Refugees In W Timor

DILI, East Timor (AP)--U.N. observers will not monitor the June 6 registration of East Timorese refugees in Indonesian West Timor, a senior international official said Friday.

Andrew Whitley, deputy political officer of the U.N. mission in East Timor, said that Jakarta had requested a U.N. staffer be part of a team of international observers for the registration of an estimated 50,000 refugees still living in camps in the Indonesian province.

"We welcome the chance to be able to inform refugees better about the conditions in East Timor, but we did point out to the Indonesians that the current security level did put obstacles in the way of us being able to participate," Whitley said.

U.N. staffers have not been allowed to travel to West Timor since last September, when a mob of pro-Jakarta militiamen killed three foreign aid workers. It was the deadliest attack on the world body's civilian staff in history.

Indonesia ended a 24-year occupation of East Timor in 1999, following a U.N.-sponsored independence referendum. Before withdrawing, the Indonesians and their militia auxiliaries laid waste to the region and killed hundreds of civilians.

When international troops arrived in September 1999, the militiamen fled to refugee camps on the Indonesian side of the border. Since then, they have launched numerous cross-border incursions in which two U.N. peacekeepers died.

In a related development, a U.S. guided missile destroyer, the Paul F. Foster, was scheduled to sail into Dili harbor Sunday to assist with humanitarian and civic projects.

This is the latest in a series of visits by U.S. warships designed to demonstrate Washington's continuing support for the peacekeeping mission.

About 300 U.S. sailors and marines will repair a medical clinic in East Timor's capital Dili and refurbish an orphanage in the coastal town of Liquica, said Jeffrey Squire, a U.N. spokesman said.

He also announced that the first contingent of Singaporean soldiers to serve in the 7,500-member peacekeeping force was due to arrive in East Timor during the first week of June. The 60-man contingent will serve along the border with Indonesia for six months.


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