TIMORESE NGOS ATTEND NCC MEETING AS OBSERVERS
As part of the National Consultative Council effort for transparency and visibility, the organized civil society will from now on be invited to the NCC meetings as observers.
Today, for the first time, Timorese NGO representatives attended.
The eighth meeting of the NCC was mainly an informational session. The Council was briefed by Peter Galbraith, Director of Political Affairs, and General Jaime de los Santos, the Commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force, on their mission to Jakarta last week.
The Police Commissioner, Coelho de Lima, briefed the NCC members on the establishment of the Police Academy, and Faith Harding, director in DSRSG's office briefed on the activities of Governance and Public Administration department of UNTAET.
Finally, a regulation on the establishment of representation offices of foreign states to UNTAET was introduced today to be discussed at the next meeting.
MILITIA LEADERS VISIT TO EAST TIMOR PROMOTES MESSAGES OF RECONCILIATION; UNTAET EXPECTING TO OPEN LIAISON OFFICE IN KUPANG THIS WEEK
UNTAET Political Affairs Officer and the future head of the liaison office in Kupang, Collin Stewart, briefied the press on the meetings the pro-autonomy leaders who visited East Timor last week had with Xannana Gusmao, Sergio de Mello, a human rights organisation in Dili and community leaders in Baucau and Los Palos.
He also outlined the main functions of the future UNTAET liaison office in Kupang.
Our principle task will be to facilitate the work of UNTAET as regards East Timorese who are in West Timor, said Stewart. (see attached transcript of the press briefing)
INDONESIA TO RESUME PAYMENT OF PENSIONS TO EAST TIMORESE PENSIONERS
Director of UNTAET Political Affairs Division Peter Galbraith briefed the press in Dili on details of last week s visit to Jakarta in which UN Peacekeeping Force commander Lt-General Jaime de los Santos and him conveyed UNTAET s strong protests over the recent militia incursions. (see attached transcript). He also informed the press about Indonesia s agreement to continue paying pensions to pension recipients and their dependents in East Timor.
Obviously that is a very significant event for those people who are receiving pensions. In addition they said that Indonesia would at minimum refund the contributions that people made to the pension fund, said Galbraith.
MILITIA ATTACK REPORTED ON SATURDAY
Local villagers reported an attack by militia in the village of Lebos in Maliana (Bobonaro) region on Saturday night (around 23.30). According to these rweports, militia fired rifles from a distance and threw one hand grenade. No injuries or material damage was reported. UN Peacekeeping Force is conducting an investigation into the incident and initial results indicate that a small group of 2-3 persons being involved. According to UN PKF, the group moved on in direction of West Timor. Empty cartridges found at the scene show that the ammunition used was of the same production as that used in recent incursions.
Batugade family reunions continue
Some 3700 people attended the family reunion in Batugade on Saturday (11 March), with 2100 crossing from West Timor and 1600 coming from East Timor.
The reunion went on without incidents, although the flow of people from the west side of the border was discontinued by TNI at around 11am. TNI stopped the people from crossing to the site of the family reunion after two men who came from West Timor were detained by CivPol for questioning after being recognized by the East Timorese as militia members. Despite this the family reunion continued with the people who already crossed, while the two men were released after being questioned by CivPol. The family reunions are expected to continue next week.
UNTAET CivPol numbers climb with new arrivals
The total number of UNTAET CivPol officers in East Timor climbed to 691 with Saturday s arrival of 40 Singaporean policemen who will be deployed across East Timor during this week. Some 120 additional officers are expected to arrive in Dili this week with 84 Filipino, 38 Nepalese, one American and one Malaysian policemen arriving tomorrow, Wednesday and Friday. The number of CivPol officers is expected to rise to some 860 policemen by the end of this month with the arrival of 50 Nigerian officers.