Annan’s Special Representative talks peace with another armed group in Timor-Leste

Sukehiro Hasegawa

6 June 2006 – For the second time in two days, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Timor-Leste, Sukehiro Hasegawa, flew to the west of the tiny Southeast Asian nation to try and end the unrest in the country, this time to meet the leader of another armed group that has demanded the resignation of the Prime Minister.

Mr. Hasegawa and Foreign Minister Jose Ramos-Horta met with Major Alfredo Reinado, a former military police commander, in Maubisse, 25 kilometres southwest of the capital, said a United Nations official on the ground, adding that the Special Representative had told the Major that continued violence could bring further suffering to the people and that leaders could be held responsible.

After the trip Mr. Hasegawa met with President Xanana Gusmão in the presidential office, while outside a crowd from the western part of the country demanded the removal of Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri. The UN official said that Mr. Gusmão had asked them to return to their homes and said his priority was to re-stabilize the country so people will not live in fear.

On Monday, Mr. Hasegawa and Mr. Ramos-Horta flew to Gleno, west of the capital, to meet with a separate armed group also calling for the removal of the Prime Minister, where the Special Representative delivered a similar message on the consequences of continued violence, the UN official said.

Today the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Timor-Leste, Ian Martin, spent the last full day of his assessment mission meeting with police commanders and Timorese specialists in human rights, governance and anti-corruption, as well as with the Minister of the Interior. He leaves Wednesday for New York where he will report to the Secretary-General.

On the humanitarian front, UN agencies report that a new census shows a larger number of internally displaced persons than previously thought.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) today said that an assessment of eight districts outside the capital show some 49,000 persons have been displaced. The previous working figure was 30,000 for all 13 districts. The new figure is expected to climb, UN officials said.

The UN High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) has reported that its airlift of family tents, plastic sheets, and jerry cans has arrived in Dili and is to be moved out to camps set up to provide assistance to more than 100,000 displaced persons who have been uprooted in recent weeks through turmoil sparked by the dismissal of a third of the armed forces of the country that the UN shepherded to independence from Indonesia in 2002.

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