Subject: UN: Spokesman for SG on Timor

06/12/2002 Press Briefing

[excerpt]

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING BY THE OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today's noon briefing by Fred Eckhard, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, and Richard Sydenham, Spokesman for the President of the General Assembly.

Briefing by Spokesman for Secretary-General

Question: On East Timor, I'm wondering if there's any misunderstanding or conflict on who's responsible for security in Dili. The reason I ask is that Portuguese who were caught in the violence there said they had called United Nations forces and asked for help. They were told, "We can't leave our barracks. We can only come out of our barracks in situations where national sovereignty is at risk". That implied that the Timorese Government had ultimate responsibility. But Timorese Prime Minister Alkatiri said yesterday that security was totally in the hands of the United Nations.

Spokesman: I didn't see what Mr. Alkatiri said. But Timor-Leste is now an independent country. And although the United Nations has residual responsibilities in the area of police training, peacekeepers, in other words military troops from the United Nations, cannot swing into action anywhere in East Timor except at the request of the sovereign Government.


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