Subject: KY: Indonesian minister agrees to Japanese peacekeepers for Timor

Indonesian minister agrees to Japanese peacekeepers for East Timor BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Aug 17, 2001

Source: Kyodo News Service, Tokyo, in English 1516 gmt 17 Aug 01

Jakarta, 17 August: Indonesia's top security minister agreed Friday [17 August] on Japan's plan to take part in UN peacekeeping operations in East Timor, which is going through a transition to full independence, a senior official of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) said.

LDP Secretary-General Taku Yamasaki told reporters that Soesilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Indonesian coordinating minister for political, social and security affairs, welcomed Tokyo's plan to dispatch personnel to East Timor.

The minister told Yamasaki that Jakarta supports peace process in the former Portuguese colony, which is now under the UN administration, and backed Japan's participation in the peacekeeping operations, citing dispatch of Japanese police officers for the independence referendum held in 1999.

An overwhelming vote for independence in the UN-administered referendum 30 August, 1999, led to transition to the territory's independence although it was followed by a wave of violence and destruction by pro-Jakarta militias backed by the Indonesian military.

Indonesia had invaded the former colony in 1975.

Yudhoyono, however, did not specifically refer to participation in peacekeeping operations in East Timor by Japan's Self-Defence Forces (SDF).

The Japanese government as well as the LDP are considering dispatch of SDF officers to East Timor and positive comments on the issue by the minister of the country that had ruled the territory would pave the way for that goal.

East Timor is scheduled to hold its first legislative elections for a constituent assembly 30 August, two years after the referendum, and to gain full independence next year.

The United Nations plans to maintain peacekeeping troops in East Timor for two years after the island gains independence.

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