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UN officials express concern over militia incursions into East Timor

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Senior officials from the United Nations mission in East Timor met today with representatives of the Indonesian Government in Jakarta to discuss the recent wave of militia-led violence along the border with West Timor.
Peter Galbraith, the head of the mission's Political Affairs Division, and Jaime de los Santos, UN Peacekeeping Force Commander, conveyed to Foreign Minister Alwi Shih their "great concern" about the recent border incidents.

Mr. Galbraith stressed that the unlawful incursions and violence were aimed as much against President Wahid's policy of reconciliation as against the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) and the people of East Timor.

Before their return to Dili, Mr. Galbraith and Mr. de los Santos were scheduled to meet the TNI Commander Admiral Widodo and the diplomatic core in Jakarta.

In a related development, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who concluded today his one-day visit to East Timor, also expressed his concern that "the tensions still exist with the Indonesian controlled West Timor," according to UNTAET.

Having been briefed by UNTAET about the violence, Mr. Ahern said he would raise the issue in his meeting next week with United States Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and at the upcoming European Union Summit in Lisbon.