Timor-Leste

Feb. 11 Statement by President Clinton on East Timor

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U.S. support for peacekeeping to continue with U.N. mission

President Clinton issued a statement February 11 announcing that the United States will support the new United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in East Timor by having a small number of U.S. officers serve as observers in the mission and by having other U.S. personnel contribute to humanitarian efforts such as rebuilding schools and restoring medical services.

The UN mission is replacing the Australian-led INTERFET force, which Clinton said had accomplished its mission of bringing "security and hope to East Timor."

While Clinton noted that countries in the region will be providing the vast majority of troops for the UN mission, he added that U.S. financial support for the peacekeeping operation, along with humanitarian and development assistance to East Timor, will total over $70 million this year.

Following is the White House text of Clinton's statement:

(begin text)

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

February 11, 2000

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Over the last several months, the United States has worked with our partners in Southeast Asia to help East Timor in its transition to independence and peace. I am proud we were able to support the efforts of the Australian-led INTERFET force, which has brought security and hope to East Timor. With its mission accomplished, INTERFET is now handing responsibility to a UN peacekeeping mission, through which the countries of the region will once again provide the vast majority of troops.

Today, I am announcing that the United States will continue to support our friends and allies in this important endeavor. A small number of U.S. officers will serve as observers in the UN mission. As part of their normal exercises, other U.S. personnel will contribute to humanitarian efforts, such as rebuilding schools and restoring medical services. These efforts will complement our financial contributions to the peacekeeping operation, as well as humanitarian and development assistance to East Timor that will total over $70 million this year.

We will also continue to stand by Indonesia as it continues its hopeful democratic transformation.

In this way, we will contribute to the birth of two new democracies in a region where freedom and tolerance are taking root. And we will bolster the ability and willingness of the countries in that region to take the lead in building peace.

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State - www.usinfo.state.gov)