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Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 07:41 GMT 08:41 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Carter slams Timor vote 'sabotage'

The UN fears heightened tensions after the vote

The former US President, Jimmy Carter, has accused senior Indonesian officials of trying to sabotage the vote on the future of East Timor later this month.

East Timor
In a statement issued in the territory's capital, Dili, he said Indonesian military and civilian officials were supporting, directing and arming militias which oppose independence.

He said that some "top representatives" of the Indonesian Government had "failed to fulfil their main obligations with respect to public order and security, and in many cases, have actively sought to undermine the popular consultation process".

The statement echoes charges by the exiled East Timorese independence leader Jose Ramos Horta made in a BBC interview in which he said the Indonesian army wanted to set off a civil war after the ballot.

Troops doubled

[ image: Jimmy Carter: Accusing officials of undermining the ballot]
Jimmy Carter: Accusing officials of undermining the ballot
In an effort to ensure stability in the territory, The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has recommended more than doubling the number of UN military and police personnel in East Timor after the vote.

The referendum, due at the end of August, will decide whether East Timor should have wide-ranging autonomy under continued Indonesian rule, or whether it should move towards independence.

In a report to the UN Security Council, Mr Annan said the situation in the territory would be delicate after the ballot and he recommended that UN efforts should be redoubled to build confidence and support stability there.

He stressed the importance of reassuring groups which were in the minority in the vote that they would have a role to play in the future political life of East Timor.

Tense period

His report to the UN Security Council recommends increasing the number of police in the UN mission from 280 to 410 to enable them to operate in all districts of the territory.

The report came as the secretary general's envoy to the territory, Jamsheed Marker, discussed plans for the tense period the vote with Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas in Jakarta.

Mr Annan has also proposed that extra officers be sent to recruit and train a new East Timorese police force, and the military liaison group beefed up from about 50 to 300.

He said that UN volunteers who are now serving as electoral officers would no longer be needed after the vote and should be withdrawn.

The UN mission in East Timor (Unamet) is supervising the ballot and will also oversee the transitional period after the vote.

The Security Council is expected to pass a resolution endorsing Kofi Annan's proposals in the next few days.

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