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First official visit of SRSG to West Timor

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Dili, 25 January 2000
SRSG Sergio Vieira de Mello arrived today in Jakarta after his first official visit to West Timor. The two-day trip to West Timor included visits to three refugee's camps and meetings with local authorities.

On Monday, in Kupang, Vieira de Mello met Governor Tallo of West Timor. They talked about the need to reopen the border and to increase the cooperation between both countries. SRSG also presented UNTAET's request to open a liaison office in Kupang.

In Kupang, SRSG visited the camp Tuapukan.

Earlier in the morning, SRSG visited two camps in Atambua, a village near the border. In the camp of Tulamalai, SRSG walked around the compound and talked to the refugees; in the camp of Tenubot, known as "Posko Ermera", he had a meeting with representatives of the refugees.

In all meetings, which included pro-integration supporters who to this date question the Popular Consultation process, the SRSG stressed that everyone is welcomed back in East Timor and that the UNTAET is ready to help them. "I am here as a friend, and I am ready to listen," he said.

When the issue of security in East Timor was raised, the tension rose among the refugees, who shared many concerns. SRSG invited the leaders of the camps to go to East Timor and see the security situation for themselves. He said that the ones involved in violence or crimes will not receive amnesty, but that UNTAET can guarantee that for those justice will be independent and impartial.

Dili Market Incident

This morning, around 7 am, a group between 120-150 youths armed with machetes and iron bars converged on Dili market and attacked three men who were later taken to a local hospital with serious injuries.

UNTAET CIVPOL officers who were patrolling the market area called for Interfet and CIVPOL reinforcements in order to stop the violence. Following the arrival of Interfet troops, the group was still refusing to leave the market until warning shots were fired. As the Interfet and CIVPOL pushed the crowd out of the market, 60 knives, machetes, and iron bars were confiscated.

UNTAET CIVPOL investigators were told later that the group came to look for attackers who reportedly stabbed a young man last night at the Dili market.