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U.N. approves transition force for East Timor

Security Council
The Security Council votes Monday to send U.N. peacekeepers to East Timor  

October 26, 1999
Web posted at: 1:21 a.m. HKT (1721 GMT)

From staff and wire reports

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- The U.N. Security Council on Monday authorized more than 9,000 peacekeeping troops to provide stability during East Timor's transition to independence, a process that will be overseen by Brazilian envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced de Mello's appointment to lead the U.N. Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) after the 15-member Security Council unanimously approved a resolution giving the international body sweeping authority to temporarily run the territory.

The transition period could last up to three years, but the initial mandate expires on January 31, 2001. De Mello, the U.N. undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, will hold his new position for at least six months.

The resolution allows 9,150 blue-helmeted troops to replace the Australian-led force sent to restore law and order last month. An international police force comprising 1,640 officers will also be sent.

The Indonesian province was plunged into chaos after East Timorese voters overwhelmingly chose independence in a U.N.-backed August 30 ballot. Pro-Jakarta militias began a rampage of killing, looting and burning that forced most of the half-island's 850,000 residents to flee their homes.

Australian-led peacekeepers have since restored order to East Timor, and Indonesia's parliament has ratified the ballot results, paving the way for the territory's temporary handover to the United Nations.

Monday's vote sets in motion a plan recommended by Annan to establish a temporary governing body for East Timor. Diplomats say this will fill the "political vacuum" left by Indonesia after it virtually abandoned the territory in the violence following the August 30 independence vote.

The U.N. administration will help develop civil and social services, coordinate humanitarian and development aid and help develop East Timor's ability to self-govern by developing "local democratic institutions."

Amid continued reports of attacks by militias who are against independence for the territory, the U.N. resolution condemned the violence in East Timor and reminded Indonesia of its responsibility for the security of East Timorese refugees in West Timor and other parts of Indonesia.

Indonesia's 1975 invasion and 1976 annexation of East Timor, a former Portuguese colony, was never recognized by the United Nations.

Reuters contributed to this report.


E. Timor rebel leader, guerrillas reunite with embraces
October 24, 1999
Independence leader Gusmao announces return to East Timor
October 13, 1999
Independence leader vows to rebuild East Timor
October 11, 1999
Peacekeepers kill East Timorese militiaman in clash
October 10, 1999
U.S. expands role in East Timor
October 9, 1999
East Timor has a 'new sheriff' in town
October 8, 1999

The Nobel Foundation
Vatican: the Holy See
United Nations Home Page
Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights
Indonesian Embassy
  • Government of Indonesia
  • Facts about Indonesia
East Timor Action Network/U.S.
East Timor Human Rights Centre
East Timor: Past, Present and Future
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Online News - East Timor Referendum 1999
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
World Vision - Terror in East Timor
See related sites about Southeast Asia
Southeast Asian media sites
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External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


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