|Subject: JP: Indonesia approves UN plan on unarmed
troops in East Timor
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 1999 17:37:44 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Jakarta Post 01 June 1999
Indonesia approves UN plan on unarmed troops in East Timor
JAKARTA (JP): Indonesia has approved a UN request to employ unarmed foreign military personnel to monitor the activities of Indonesian soldiers ahead of the UN-organized direct ballot in East Timor, Minister of Defense and Security Gen. Wiranto said on Monday.
Speaking to journalists after attending a meeting of Council for Enforcement of Security and Law at Bina Graha presidential office, the general said the presence of the military liaison officers team was proof of the Indonesian Military's (TNI) neutrality in the ballot.
Wiranto, who is also TNI chief, pointed out the liaison officers would not be armed because they would not work as a peacekeeping force.
"They will be placed within our military units to monitor whether what the TNI or the police are doing is correct and proportional in carrying out their mission," said Wiranto.
He said the liaison team would comprise about 45 officers and was expected to come from countries which had a neutral position on East Timor. They will be accompanied by several Indonesian officers.
He said he would replace some Army battalions with police personnel there, and the number of TNI and police personnel during the self- determination would be about 8,500 personnel, most of them from territorial battalions and police officers.
Wiranto said that during the meeting, President B.J. Habibie approved the appointment of senior diplomat Agus Tarmidzi to head the Indonesian team in Dili.
The team is assigned to act as a counterpart of the United Nations Assessment Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) operation in the territory, he said.
The general also assured that TNI would take a neutral position toward proindependence and prointegration factions. He also denied reports that TNI had trained pro-Indonesia militia groups.
"We will take firm action against any groups violating the agreement," said the general.
He also discussed his meeting with UNAMET head Ian Martin on Monday morning Martin told him that he would head 242 international staffers, 420 volunteers, 280 police civilian advisors and 4,000 East Timorese staffers.
Martin is scheduled to arrive in Dili on Tuesday and formally open the UN headquarters in Dili on Thursday.
Separately, UNAMET spokesman in Dili David Wimhurst said all UN facilities needed to organize the "popular consultation" to determine the province's future were available.
He, however, said that the UN was still concerned over the increasing violence, intimidation and terror campaigns against local people.
"This is significant evidence that (warring) factions in the troubled territory have not yet prepared for democracy. They are not ready to accept if the people vote for a decision they do not want," he said.
Wimhurst said his team would cooperate with the government and conflicting factions to stop the violence and intimidation and create a conducive climate for a free and fair ballot, scheduled for Aug. 8.
He said his team was making contact with proindependence groups, including the Falintil separatist group, and prointegration groups in an effort to press them to lay down their arms.
"Indonesia has agreed that during the ballot, all soldiers deployed in the territory will stay in their barracks to ensure neutrality," he said.
Wimhurst also said that as of June 8, UNAMET would launch a campaign through the mass media to inform people, especially those in East Timor, about the direct ballot.
Meanwhile, violence flared up again in two regencies in East Timor last Friday, leaving four East Timorese dead and one missing.
Three farmers, identified as Vicente Alves, 37, Caitano Alves 42, and Duarte Belo, 32, were killed when a group of rebels launched an assault on their farming area in Viqueque regency, while 25-year-old Manuel Coreia was killed by another group of rebels in Samutoaben Hamlet in Bobonaro regency. Capt. Widodo, spokesman for the East Timor Provincial Police, said here on Monday that he got information about the ambush from the victims' fellow villagers who escaped the assault.
"The two witnesses, identified as Fransisco Soares and Crispin Soares, escaped the attack in Viqueque and found the three victims' bodies at the site on Saturday," he said.
Widodo said Manuel was killed when he and Francisco, 29, who went missing in the ambush, were patrolling their village on Friday night.
"Manuel died after being treated for hours at a hospital in Bobonaro," said Widodo.
He said dozens of security personnel and local people had been deployed to search for the rebels and look for Francisco but no progress had been made. (prb/33/rms)