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troung
13 Mar 05,, 20:29
U.S. Wants to End U.N. Peacekeeping in East Timor

Mon Feb 28, 5:29 PM ET World - Reuters


By Larry Fine

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States on Monday called for ending the United Nations (news - web sites) peacekeeping mission in East Timor (news - web sites) when its mandate expires in May, going against recommendations by Secretary-General Kofi Annan (news - web sites).



The United States was the only Security Council member not to endorse Annan's recent call to extend peacekeeping operations of a scaled-down United Nations Mission of Support in East Timor (UNMISET) for a year until May 2006.


The Bush administration, however, was backed by Australia, which sent soldiers to East Timor to keep order in 1999 after Indonesian military-backed violence left 1,400 people dead.


The United States, which pays more than a quarter of U.N. peacekeeping costs, said Timor no longer represented an international security threat that required peacekeepers.


Annan's report praised the progress made by East Timor, formally known as Timor-Leste, since breaking from Indonesia but said support was still needed to resolve a dispute over the border with Indonesia, improve its police force, develop justice and financial institutions and fight political corruption and human rights violations.


He called for cutting military personnel from 472 troops to 179 in addition to civilian advisers.


"It is clear to us that the peacekeeping phase of Timor-Leste's path to full sufficiency can now be concluded," said U.S. delegate Reed Fendrick, who suggested U.N. support might continue in the form of a political mission.


"There is no longer a threat to international peace and security requiring a peacekeeping mission."


The General Assembly appropriated $85.2 million for the mission for the year ending June 30, 2005. The United States pays 27 percent of the cost of U.N. peacekeeping operations.


The Security Council will vote on whether to extend the peacekeeping mandate before it expires.


East Timor recently held elections in two districts with plans for more in the coming months. It has agreed on about 96 percent of its border demarcation with Indonesia.


The Timorese, who experienced centuries of Portuguese colonial rule and then 24 years of occupation by Indonesia, voted overwhelmingly in August 1999 to break free, prompting an orgy of violence and Australia's intervention.


The United Nations ran the territory until independence in May 2002. The peacekeeping mission numbered 11,000 troops and civilians when first authorized.


A stream of speakers in the open council session praised the East Timor "success story" and advocated extending the mission following a briefing by U.N. envoy Sukehiro Hasegawa and a speech by Timorese Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta.


"Since 1999 you have made a tremendous contribution to what remains one of the most successful U.N. stories in the world," Ramos-Horta said in seeking a 6-12 month mission extension.


Australian Ambassador John Dauth backed the U.S. position.


"In our view the current external security environment of Timor-Leste does not warrant the continuation of peacekeepers on the border," Dauth said.

Confed999
13 Mar 05,, 21:04
"It is clear to us that the peacekeeping phase of Timor-Leste's path to full sufficiency can now be concluded," said U.S. delegate Reed Fendrick, who suggested U.N. support might continue in the form of a political mission.

If he's right, and the military requirements are gone, then they made the correct decision.

troung
13 Mar 05,, 21:11
Ahh Timor another reason Kissinger needs his "peace" prize taken back...

I think I am the only one who remembers/knew what happened 2 years back? Indonesia overflew Timorese airspace a few times with F-16s and even rocketed a disputed island with a naval helicopter. Of course nothing negative happened to Indonesia because of that for obvious reasons.

But hell might as well pull out and save the money because for the time being the militia death squads are not currently acting up in Timor. And if the nation goes back to **** we could always sent back in peace keepers like last time.

Parihaka
13 Mar 05,, 21:26
Al-Qaeda may have slipped into E Timor
March 10, 2005 - 7:04PM


Australia is investigating reports that four al-Qaeda terrorists may have slipped into East Timor across its porous land border with Indonesia.
But East Timor's Minister of Interior Rogerio Lobato rejected the claims.
The four men - said to be two South Africans, a Kuwaiti and a Turk - could have entered East Timor over the last few weeks, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported, citing diplomatic sources in the former Portuguese territory.
The four had come to the attention of Indonesian authorities and were named as: Feroz Abu Bakar Ganchi and Zubair Ismail of South Africa; Mushin Fadhi, also known as Abu Samia, of Kuwait; and Abu Ubaydah al Turki, also known as Ubaida Ubeyde, of Turkey.
The group was first identified in a classified report by Indonesian authorities in January.
That report said the men were in Indonesia and had hopes of crossing the East Timor border, which is relatively poorly patrolled and exploited by smugglers and crime gangs.
Minister Lobato said his government had investigated the reports and they were not accurate, although four men had crossed the border on March 7.

"We have been in touch with Interpol and we have also investigated with our own intelligence services," he told AAP.
"We always investigate these reports, but in this case they are not accurate."
An Indonesian police spokesman in neighbouring West Timor, Colonel Martin Raja, said Australian Federal Police had already travelled to the border to investigate the reports.
"So far they have not received any confirmation," he said.
The Australian Embassy in Dili refused to comment on the reports.
In Canberra, a spokesman for Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Australia was looking at the reports.
If true, they could point to an attempt by al-Qaeda to set up a terrorist cell in the world's newest nation, which the UN has warned has "fragile" security.
"Obviously we consider all information on issues like this," he said.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last month called for a scaled-down peacekeeping mission to remain in East Timor when its mandate expired, warning a scheduled May pullout could affect security and stability.
Australia and the US both opposed the extension and Australia's UN Ambassador John Dauth backed Washington, saying East Timor no longer faced external threats.
In 2002, East Timor President Xanana Gusmao rejected reports that people connected to al-Qaeda were in East Timor, saying they were rumours intended to scare people.
The latest reports come two months after two unidentified Egyptian men were detained in Indonesia as they attempted to cross the forested border into East Timor.
The pair had escaped a prison in Indonesia where they were being held on immigration charges. They said they tried to get into East Timor with eventual aim of reaching Australia.
The pair are now being held by Indonesian intelligence services who have authorised Australian intelligence services to question the duo, a diplomatic source in Dili told Lusa.
An Indonesian military spokesman in West Timor said he was unaware of any reported infiltration by al-Qaeda into East Timor.
Kupang military commander Colonel Muswarno Moesanip recently said another infantry battalion would soon join the four Indonesian army battalions on the border to prevent West Timor becoming a base for armed incursions into East Timor.
In Canberra, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said Australian Federal Police (AFP) were checking the reports through international networks.
"But we are not in a position to confirm any of the reports," Mr Ruddock said in a statement to AAP.
A United Nations report released last month found that while East Timor's border control unit had improved it still lacked "sufficient capacity to manage border affairs and interact with the Indonesian national army".
"The border patrol officers do not yet have the capacity to perform professional tasks at the desired level of proficiency and competence," the report by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said.
Mr Ruddock said the possible incursion by terrorists highlighted the need for vigilance.
"Obviously, it reinforces that unlawful migration can, in fact, be a camouflage for people with other intentions," he said.
"Reports of this nature, regardless of whether they are true or not, just support the need for continued vigilance in the Australian government's efforts to build anti-terrorism and border management capacity here at home and in our region."
Mr Ruddock said Australia was providing specialist training for immigration and border control officials in Indonesia and East Timor.
And the Immigration Department was due to conduct an assessment of East Timor's border controls this year.
Australian government sources said the report about the four men may have been sparked by a "most wanted" type alert issued by Indonesia.
Source (http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/AlQaeda-may-have-slipped-into-E-Timors/2005/03/10/1110417610373.html?oneclick=true)

Parihaka
13 Mar 05,, 21:31
I think that since Wolfowitz's visit to Indonesia just after the Tsunami where he stated that military links with Indonesia should be re-established there has been pressure to scale back international support for East Timor. There's still a need for border security, I'll be interested to see what my Govt. does over the next couple of months. It's also interesting that Indonesia feels it's necessary to maintain 5 full battalions on the border with East Timor to prevent people getting into there from Indonesia?

troung
13 Mar 05,, 21:47
"If true, they could point to an attempt by al-Qaeda to set up a terrorist cell in the world's newest nation, which the UN has warned has "fragile" security."

Makes no sense. East Timor is far and wide Catholic so no way could/would they set up a base there in plain sight of everyone. If the Timorese could not take care of them then someone else would.

"I think that since Wolfowitz's visit to Indonesia just after the Tsunami where he stated that military links with Indonesia should be re-established there has been pressure to scale back international support for East Timor."

To keep Indonesia happy. Giving up East Timor after being proded to take it :rolleyes: left massive scars in the military which still is the strongest branch in the nation.

"It's also interesting that Indonesia feels it's necessary to maintain 5 full battalions on the border with East Timor to prevent people getting into there from Indonesia?"

Keep stablity on the border and to prevent unrest from entering West Timor. Towards the end Indonesia developed issues with the militias near the border.

Confed999
14 Mar 05,, 03:43
I think I am the only one who remembers/knew what happened 2 years back? Indonesia overflew Timorese airspace a few times with F-16s and even rocketed a disputed island with a naval helicopter. Of course nothing negative happened to Indonesia because of that for obvious reasons
That stuff happens all the time and everyone pretty much gets away with it. Not that it should be that way, but I don't know how hundreds of soldiers can stop it, thousands maybe.

But hell might as well pull out and save the money because for the time being the militia death squads are not currently acting up in Timor. And if the nation goes back to **** we could always sent back in peace keepers like last time.
If they do not need the military forces then it should "continue in the form of a political mission". Troops shouldn't stay any longer than they have to, if nothing else, to avoid foolish talk of occupation and colonialism that will create enemies where there were none.

ZFBoxcar
14 Mar 05,, 03:54
Never thought I'd see the day, but I agree with the UN. Confed, even if hundreds of UN soldiers couldn't prevent anything from happening (which I think they might still be able to do), their presence would allow for the quicker arrival of reinforcements. And an attack on UN peacekeepers is likely to invoke a greater response than an attack on Timorese civillians (after all, the Indonesians were killing them for years and nobody cared). I really doubt that anyone would cry colonialism about this. After all, Timor is worthless in terms of resources, and Iraq has the second largest reserves of oil, yet there aren't really that many complaints of colonialism in Iraq (the fringe left argues it, but not many others). And its not like soldiers are in danger in Timor (at least not from the Timorese). The Timorese received their independence with the help of the UN, and the UN has been helping ever since, the Timorese have no beef with them. I fail to see a reason why we should not err on the side of caution and keep peacekeepers there for another year. 1 year is all Annan was asking for.

Argh...it really bothers me to be on Kofi Annan's side.

Confed999
14 Mar 05,, 04:39
Never thought I'd see the day, but I agree with the UN. Confed
Personally, I don't agree with either fully not having seen the reports/info they're basing their decisions on. I based my statement on an "if". It's probably because I believe Kofi last, as a default. ;)

troung
14 Mar 05,, 04:48
"That stuff happens all the time and everyone pretty much gets away with it."

Well we are also "special friends" even with the sanctions. Plus who would ruin business relations over some overflights of some nation most normal people cannot easily find on a map (even if they had a post 1999 map).

"Never thought I'd see the day, but I agree with the UN."

:eek:

"even if hundreds of UN soldiers couldn't prevent anything from happening (which I think they might still be able to do), their presence would allow for the quicker arrival of reinforcements."

Well these days they would not attack. Nothing harder then trying to clean up a battered image.

"(after all, the Indonesians were killing them for years and nobody cared). I really doubt that anyone would cry colonialism about this."

Because we (America) wanted/allowed them to do that. And this is not like Kuwait and Saddam either.

During the expansionist days of President Sukarno, Timor was not even on their claims list even though they spent time trying to crack bigger and much harder to crack nuts (Irian Jaya and then Malay and the Philippines even seemed on their hit list). If I was Indonesia and I had a choice between fighting Portugal and Britain I would take Portugal everytime, but they didn't even try and claim East Timor. East Timor at the time had about 1000 troops and many of those were locals. Indonesia did fight for Irian Jaya (won) and then Malaysia (ended after a coup). After the pro western military coup in 1965 they gave up claims on other nations.

Timor was invaded in 1975 and in that year Angola, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia all went Communist. Timor was in a three way civil war with the Portugese backed left wing faction (read communist) winning on the military and local political front (at least 55% of locals old enough to vote supported them). A lot of western nations did not show up to vote in the UN on condemming Indonesia (read everyone but Portugal) for taking them over.

"After all, Timor is worthless in terms of resources, and Iraq has the second largest reserves of oil, yet there aren't really that many complaints of colonialism in Iraq (the fringe left argues it, but not many others)."

The Timor Gap has some oil (waters split between Timor, Indonesia and Australia), when people found that out "Free Timor" became a good idea. Granted that was not known in 1975.

"And its not like soldiers are in danger in Timor (at least not from the Timorese)."

Well the militia voilence had stopped but the militias were suprisingly East Timorese.

"The Timorese received their independence with the help of the UN, and the UN has been helping ever since, the Timorese have no beef with them. I fail to see a reason why we should not err on the side of caution and keep peacekeepers there for another year. 1 year is all Annan was asking for."

Well personally I don't think one year will have an effect any anything really. Indonesia will not invade them and if they wanted to stir the pot they could easily wait one year or so to form up refugees to cross back. But the Indonesians have bigger fish to fry these days (read Malaysia, GAM, OPM, JI).

But on the other hand one more year could not hurt either.