Subject: LUSA: Tough negotiations ahead on Annan proposal to extend UNMISET mission

01-03-2005 11:54:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-6792392 Temas:

East Timor: Tough negotiations ahead on Annan proposal to extend UNMISET mission

Washington, March 1 (Lusa) - United Nations diplomats foresaw Tuesday "intense negotiations" ahead in the UN Security Council over Secretary-General Kofi Annan's recommendation that the UNMISET mission in East Timor be extended for one year in a reduced form.

The United States led skeptics of Annan's plan at the start of discussions at the Security Council in New York Monday, but most council members appeared to support an extension of some kind for the mission that is set to end May 20.

Portuguese Ambassador João Salgueiro, who participated in the opening debate in support of Dili's position, argued that East Timor continued to face "significant challenges".

An extended mission was "essential for security, stability, and sustainable development in the mid- and long-term", Salgueiro said.

Washington made clear it opposed the continuation of UNMISET, beyond its mandate, but indicated it was open to a "more modest" and "discreet" UN civilian presence without a military or police component.

"There is no longer a threat to international peace and security that demands a peacekeeping mission", US political counselor Reed Fendrik said, adding that relations between East Timor and former occupier Indonesia were "improving".

While Britain took a stance similar to Washington's, the three other permanent council members - China, France and Russia - showed support for Annan's call for a one-year extension of the mission in a pruned format, but with both military, police and civilian components.

The proposed reconfigured mission, to run through May 2006, foresees 35 military liaison officers, down from 42, and 40 police trainers, down from the current 157.

The civilian adviser component would also be pruned to 45 from 58 and the mission would have 10 human rights officers, down from 14.

In another development, the main US pro-Timor NGO, the East Timor Action Network (ETAN), criticized the Bush administration Monday for its weekend announcement that Washington was resuming military cooperation with Indonesia, after more than a decade of restrictions.

The end of US military restrictions against Jakarta, which mounted in tandem with Indonesian atrocities during the 1990s, was a defeat for "justice, human rights and democratic reforms", said ETAN spokesman John Miller, urging Washington to reconsider it position.

Dili, anxious to normalize its relations with Jakarta, has argued in favor of the US lifting its ban on military cooperation and the sale of arms to Indonesia.



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