East Timor: UN team visits Indonesia's West Timor to encourage repatriation

16 April 2001

A team from the United Nations mission in East Timor has held "very successful" meetings with thousands of refugees in camps in West Timor, Indonesia, to inform the East Timorese of the situation in their home territory and encourage their repatriation, the UN peacekeeping operation said today in Dili.

"The main concern of the refugees who want to return is their personal security, and we were able to assure them that East Timor is stable and safe," said N. Parameswaran, the Chief of Staff of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) who led the delegation. "There were, however, indications that some of the refugees had been instructed to ask questions of a political nature and question the result of the popular consultation."

The visit to the camps in Kupang, Soe, Kefamenanu and Atambua was initiated by the Udayana (Bali and West Timor) Commander Major General William da Costa, who accompanied the delegation for the entire visit.

Thousands of posters, brochures and other information materials prepared by UNTAET were distributed among the refugees. The Chief of Staff also met with the Bishops of Kupang and Atambua, as well as pro-autonomy leaders. Plans are under way to send a ship later this month to pick up from Kupang those refugees who wish to return to East Timor, the UN Mission said.

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