Subject: AN: Suratman Deplore UN Press Release
Date: Sat, 22 May 1999 10:18:18 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

EAST TIMOR COMMANDER DEPLORES UN SPOKESMAN'S PRESS RELEASE ALLEGING CLASH

Antara

East Timor, 18th May: Chief of the Wira Dharma military command, Col Tono Suratman, has deplored a press release issued by the spokesman of the United Nations mission here, saying its truth has not been verified.

"Any statement made by a UN spokesman should first be clarified to prevent any misunderstanding," Suratman said, when receiving a 15-member UN mission from Japan, led by Sumio Tauri, here Tuesday 18th May.

According to the military officer, the UN press release said 60 armed pro-integrationists attacked residents of Atsabe sub-district, Bobonaro District, leaving five persons dead and some others injured. He noted that the release also said that the Aitarak pro-integration group damaged and burned 10 houses in Metiaut village in Dili.

Suratman said the UN spokesman, David Wimhurst, who claimed he got the report from a reliable source, should have first verified the truth of the story with the security apparatus. If every information obtained by the UN team is not checked, unrests will only continue to break out, he added.

"People want to know the reason behind an occurrence. Background (information) would be necessary to prevent them from misinterpreting a story," he said.

On his meeting with the Japanese mission, he said his guests asked about the preparations being made by the armed forces and the police in the run-up to the direct balloting in East Timor on 8th August.

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