Subject: RT: Alatas says some combat troops remain in ET
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998 09:20:23 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Indonesia says some combat troops still in E.Timor 04:18 a.m. Oct 28, 1998 Eastern
JAKARTA, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas said on Wednesday some combat troops remained in East Timor but that they would soon be withdrawn from the troubled territory.
``About 1,300 battle troops have been withdrawn (from East Timor),'' Alatas told Reuters on the sidelines of a human rights workshop.
He said of those remaining ``almost one hundred percent are territorial troops who do not fight but help people in agriculture, road and bridge development.''
``The withdrawal of battle troops will be done continually based on the condition and situation in East Timor,'' Alatas added.
He did not say how many combat troops remained in East Timor or when they would be withdrawn.
Indonesia began withdrawing combat troops from East Timor in July in a bid to reduce tensions in the former Portuguese colony, which it invaded in 1975 and annexed the following year.
It said all battle troops would be pulled out by mid-August.
But critics have said the July withdrawals were a token gesture and some said the military strength was beefed up in September.
Indonesia faces armed resistance to its rule over East Timor. Many residents of the territory have said they support a referendum on the future of East Timor.