|Subject: RT: EU wants U.N. peace force in East Timor
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 08:43:53 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
FOCUS-EU wants U.N. peace force in East Timor
LUXEMBOURG, April 26 (Reuters) - European Union foreign ministers urged on Monday the United Nations to urgently move its peacekeepers into East Timor to help prevent further violence in the territory.
EU foreign ministers said it was still up to the Indonesian government to maintain security and public order in the territory, but the spirit of the peace process would be helped by a U.N. presence.
The demand echoed a plea made earlier when a senior East Timorese official urged Indonesia to withdraw its forces from East Timor and allow in a U.N. peacekeeping force to monitor a planned ballot on autonomy for the territory.
``A U.N. force should be deployed to ensure peace and stability in the territory,'' Zacarias da Costa, East Timor's representative to the EU and U.N., told a news conference in Brussels.
``This force must be used to monitor and disarm the militia groups and monitor the withdrawal of Indonesian forces. We demand an independent commission of inquiry to look into the recent massacres,'' Da Costa added.
Indonesia, which has controlled East Timor since its invasion in 1975, and the territory's former colonial ruler, Portugal, reached agreement on Friday on an autonomy plan for the territory, which will allow its 800,000 people to vote on their future in either July or August.
The agreement came amid increased violence in East Timor since Jakarta said in January it would consider independence for the territory if its people reject autonomy in the ballot.
East Timor blames the violence on militia groups opposed to autonomy and supported by the Indonesian military.
Da Costa said Indonesia's plan to leave its troops in place to monitor the ballot was totally unacceptable.
``After more than 23 years of human rights violations, it is hard for us to accept that they want to be part of the peacekeeping operation. With Indonesian forces in place, it will be very difficult to achieve a climate of stability,'' he said.
Da Costa said there was still some disagreement between East Timor's leaders about what form an Indonesian withdrawal should take, but that all agreed that at least half the 20,000 troops had to be pulled out.