Subject: DPA: UN warns East Timor pro-autonomy groups of campaign rules
Date: Sat, 29 May 1999 11:41:23 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

May 26, 1999 Deutsche Presse-Agentur U.N. warns East Timor pro-autonomy groups of campaign rules

Dili, Indonesia - The United Nations mission in East Timor has warned pro-Indonesia groups about campaigning before the official campaign start date for a ballot on self-determination scheduled for August 7, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday.

"We've made it very clear to them there can be no campaigning on the question of autonomy. We believe they have understood that message," U.N. spokesman David Wimhurst told reporters.

"Already we have met with students and explained our impartiality. We ran through the same scenario with FPDK as people on the independence side," Wimhurst added.

FPDK is an acronym for the main pro-Indonesian umbrella group with links to militia organisations.

The U.N. Assistance Mission to East Timor (UNAMET) had earlier expressed concern about banners being hung in Dili linking the U.N. to support for the pro-autonomy lobby.

Wimhurst said U.N. officials has been in contact with local authorities asking for the banners to be removed.

Under the terms of a May 5 agreement signed between former colonial power Portugal and Indonesia, East Timorese will vote for either wide-ranging autonomy within Indonesia or independence in a U.N.- supervised ballot.

Wimhurst conceded escalating militia violence could cause U.N. monitors to postpone the date of the ballot but he strongly ruled out any cancellation of the vote.

Regardless of the outcome, Wimhurst said, the U.N. would stay in East Timor after the ballot to ensure an orderly and peaceful transition.

He said a second U.N.-chartered Russian cargo jet would arrive in East Timor on Friday, bringing more equipment for the U.N. team, while the head of mission Ian Martin was expected to arrive on Saturday, scheduled as the official opening of the U.N. headquarters for East Timor.

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