Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK
Timor vote delayed again
About half of the East Timorese electorate has been registered
East Timor's historic referendum on self-rule has been delayed for a second time.
The referendum, originally planned for 8 August, had already been postponed once because of continuing fears about security in the territory.
Reacting to the new delay, pro-independence leader Jose Ramos Horta denounced Jakarta for its failure to provide adequate security.
Mr Annan is expected to make an announcement about his decision later on Wednesday.
The vote will determine whether the East Timorese want to move towards complete independence or greater autonomy within Indonesia.
Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and annexed it a year later - a move not recognised by the UN.
Mr Annan, who has the final say on the date of the ballot, had said earlier that the vote was conditional on the Indonesian authorities being able to improve security conditions in the territory to ensure a fair vote.
He said Mr Annan had also cited the security situation as a factor in the delay.
"We think that the security situation is constantly improving. There are of course sporadic incidents of violence between the two groups (of pro- and anti-independence forces).
"But we can overcome that. We are overcoming that," Mr Alatas said.
If the vote goes beyond the August deadline, the UN will have to secure a new mandate.
Up to 50% of voters have already been registered, but the UN still faces the problem of registering an estimated 50,000 refugees who have fled their homes amid months of violence between pro- and anti-independence factions.
The refugees represent some 10% of the electorate, and if they are not registered the UN will not be in a position to say that the election can go ahead freely and fairly - possibly causing another delay.