|Subject: AFP: UN Security Council expresses
"grave concern" at ETimor attack
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 09:09:09 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
UN Security Council expresses "grave concern" at ETimor attack
UNITED NATIONS, June 29 (AFP) - The UN Security Council on Tuesday expressed "grave concern" at an attack by pro-Indonesian militias on a UN regional office in East Timor and demanded a full investigation.
The 15-member council, reacting swiftly to an attack by about 100 militiamen on the UN post at Maliana, in East Timor, also endorsed a statement issued earlier by the UN spokesman which had warned that the Indonesian government would be held accountable for such incidents.
UN chief Kofi Annan, in the statement issued by his spokesman Fred Eckhard, strongly deplored the attack and called on Indonesian police to investigate and punish those responsible.
The council issued a formal statement in open session which expressed "grave concern at the attack on the UNAMET office in Maliana, East Timor, and demands that all parties respect the safety and security of UNAMET personnel."
UNAMET is the UN mission which is organizing a referendum in August on the future of the former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1976. The East Timorese are to be asked whether they wish East Timor to remain part of Indonesia with wide-ranging autonomy or to become independent.
Western diplomats said that Bahrain, a Moslem country like Indonesia, opposed a more strongly-worded statement which would have condemned the attack and more clearly laid the blame with the Indonesian authorities accused of arming the anti-independence militia.
But Portuguese Ambassador Antonio Monteiro told AFP that the council reaction was satisfactory because of its endorsement of the UN spokesman's statement, and its call for a "thorough investigation."
The United States issued a condemnation of the attack and called for the militias to be reined in immediately.
"Pro-Jakarta militias, which have operated with the acquiescence and support of elements of the Indonesian military, are responsible for much of the recent violence and killings in East Timor," State Department James Rubin said.
The Security Council said it was particularly concerned that militia violence against the local population was having "an intimidating influence over them."
"These activities continue to constrict political freedom in East Timor, thus jeopardizing the necessary openness of the consultation process," the council said.
The council also noted that Annan had pointed out in a report that the precarious security situation had been favourable to the anti-independence side, while public expression by pro-independence activities had been "severely limited."