Text of EU Presidency Statement on EU Observer Mission to East Timor
Below is the text, as issued, of the EU Presidency statement released today relating to the visit to East Timor of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, David Andrews, TD who is leading a group of EU observers in his capacity as EU Presidency Personal Representative for East Timor.
"A group of EU-observers going to East-Timor
The European Union is sending a group to observe the elections in East-Timor. The group is led by the Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews who is acting as a special representative of the Finnish EU Presidency. The group will observe a referendum organised by the United Nations. The referendum will decide whether East-Timor remains an autonomous part of Indonesia or seek independence. The Finnish members of the group of observers are the Members of Parliament Paula Kokkonen (Cons) and Kimmo Kiljunen (Sd), Euro MP Heidi Hautala (Greens) and a Finnish Foreign Ministry Attaché Kari Puurunen. The Finnish participants will stay in East-Timor from 28 August to 1 September 1999. With its substantial presence in the elections the EU is seeking to signal its political support to the East-Timorese referendum and extend its wish for a peaceful solution for the prolonged conflict on the island. Indonesia occupied the Portuguese East-Timor in 1975 and attached the country to itself the following year. The resulting violence has lasted for a quarter of a century and has claimed hundreds of thousands of victims. In May this year, Portugal and Indonesia agreed in UN led negotiations to organise the referendum."