|Subject: LUSA: Despite Rumors, Peaceful
Vote Expected - Inquiry Team Official
18 Jul 01 12:44 East Timor: Despite Rumors, Peaceful Vote Expected - Inquiry Team Official
A team dispatched to verify rumors of planned election violence in East Timor reported Wednesday they had found the territory's "most vulnerable" areas "calm and serene".
"There is nothing anywhere. It's all an anecdote", a team member told Lusa in Dili. "None of the sources we contacted were able to substantiate any of the rumors".
The team, a mix of UN and Timorese security officials, dispatched last week by UN chief administrator Sergio Vieira de Mello, has yet to issue its formal report.
Lusa's source insisted on the importance of "dedramatizing" the rumors of potential violence during the countdown to the Aug. 30 constituent assembly vote, but added that the report would recommend continued "vigilance".
"The perception the team gained" from investigations in Baucau, Viqueque, Aileu, Same and Dili, he stressed, was that "the elections will take place peacefully".
Among the rumors which led Vieira de Mello to order the inquiry was a letter he received from a fringe radical group urging Dili's 140,000 residents to flee the city because of an alleged election "bloodbath" between the 16 competing political parties.
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