Statement Issued on Behalf of the Presidency of the European Union
"Statement on the Popular Consulation in East Timor by the Personal Representative of the Presidency, Mr. David Andrews, TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ireland.
"I welcome the successful conclusion yesterday of the vote on the future of East Timor whose people are to be congratulated on this historic achievement. It is a major accomplishment by, first and foremost, the people themselves and also by the United Nations and the other parties to the New York agreement, Indonesia and Portugal. I believe that it will be welcomed throughout the European Union which has provided strong and consistent support for the right of the East Timorese people to self-determination.
"While the outcome of the ballot will not be known for several days, it is already clear from the extremely high turnout that the electorate exercised its will in a most impressive and courageous manner.
"EU Observer Groups visited a large number of regional centres and polling stations and were impressed by the orderly and disciplined conduct of the large number of voters, many of whom had walked long distances and queued for many hours in order to vote.
"They also paid tribute to the professional, effective and dedicated way in which UNAMET staff conducted the poll and to the contribution , in this regard, of the Indonesian autorities. Tragically, two UNAMET officials were injured in one incident and one, Mr Joao Lopez, was killed in another. On behalf of the European Union, I wish to extend my condolences to his family.
"I hope that all those involved, both inside and outside the territory, will work together in peace to implement the will of the East Timorese people as expressed in yesterday's vote. In the light of the outcome, the European Union will, for its part, consider further how best it can contribute to the development and well-being of the people of East Timor."
Dili, 31 August 1999"