September 1999: Accord near on E Timor force
New York, Jakarta
appeared immin-ent last night on a United Nations-backed multiracial
force for East Timor which could be deployed by the weekend.
Closed-door consultations were continuing in the UN Security
Council on a British-sponsored resolution which would mandate
"all necessary measures" to restore law and order in the Indonesian
progress has been made in the past few hours," said John Howard,
prime minister of Australia, which has offered to lead the
was possible a resolution would be adopted without the backing
of China because of a proposal to invoke Chapter VII of the
UN charter. In the past China has hesitated to include "Chapter
VII language", which confers broad enforcement authority for
members appeared confident that Australia would supply the
largest contingent, of about 4,500 troops, despite Indonesian
reservations about Australian participation.
Downer, Australian foreign minister, said at the UN that while
Australian troops would be in the vanguard of a force they
would prefer to be accompanied in East Timor by other Asian
troops. Mr Downer said that Ali Alatas, Indonesian foreign
minister, in conversations with him had not objected to Australian
leadership of the force but Mr Downer said he recognised Indonesian
doubts about the composition of the international force were
raised in Jakarta on Monday, President B.J. Habibie said yesterday
Indonesia had put no conditions on the establishment of the
force being negotiated at the UN.
his ministers and aides urged the UN to take seriously their
concern that Australian troops would be too controversial.
don't set any conditions," Brig Gen Sudrajat, military spokesman,
told the FT. He denied he had rejected Australian troops on
live television the day before. "The (military) will not interfere
in UN peacekeeping operations policy."
troops could be put under UN command or even withdraw early,
before the scheduled secession of East Timor in December,
the spokesman said. However, the military were "reluctant"
to work with Australian troops because of "emotional sentiment"
among soldiers and people in East Timor. The UN yesterday
closed its mission in East Timor and evacuated all but a dozen
110 staff and 1,300 East Timorese refugees who had remained
in the UN compound after two earlier evacuations left Dili,
the capital, in the early morning and flew to Darwin, Australia.
Staff had feared that pro-Indonesian militia, who had taken
potshots at the compound for days, would launch an assault
before UN troops could arrive. Cash to buy Hawks, Page 9
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