Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Wednesday, September 15, 1999 Published at 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK


World: Asia-Pacific

Troops gear up for Timor

Australia is preparing to lead the multi-national UN force

By Defence Correspondent Jonathan Marcus

Speed is now vital, not just to begin the process of restoring order in East Timor, but also to bring food and humanitarian aid to many thousands of people who have fled their homes.

East Timor
The Australian Government, whose military will be spearheading the operation, seems confident that it can have advance units on the ground between two and three days after receiving the green light to deploy.

Light armoured vehicles have already been loaded onto a transport ship. And a high speed catamaran and supply vessel are both on stand-by off the Australian port of Darwin.

From there it is only some 850km by sea to East Timor's principal city - Dili.

The mandate for the multi-national force is robust; and with good reason. The final make-up of the force is not clear. But it may ultimately involve contributions from several countries.

Anti-Australian sentiment

But Australian troops will probably constitute its largest element and they are likely to arrive first. Nobody can be certain as to the situation they will find on the ground.

Some Australian newspapers have voiced unease at the anti-Australian sentiments that have been whipped up by some Indonesian politicians over recent days.

The multi-national force - expected eventually to number some six to seven thousand - could face a tough job.

The UN resolution expresses the hope of close co-operation between the peacekeepers and the Indonesian military.

This may well be the critical issue. Will elements of the Indonesian military continue to support the anti-independence militias, or will they withdraw from the scene allowing the Australian-led force to get on with its job unhindered?



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

15 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Out of Timor but still pursued by militias

15 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Australians prepare for tough mission

15 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Who will make up the Timor force?

15 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
UN Timor resolution - the full text

13 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: UN faces tricky operation

14 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Rescued refugees weep with relief

14 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Picture gallery: Passage to safety

11 Sep 99 | Asia-Pacific
Dili: Back to year zero





Internet Links


Government of Indonesia

Unamet

East Timor Action Network

The BBC's Indonesian Service


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Indonesia rules out Aceh independence

DiCaprio film trial begins

Millennium sect heads for the hills

Uzbekistan voices security concerns

From Business
Chinese imports boost US trade gap

ICRC visits twelve Burmese jails

Falintil guerillas challenge East Timor peackeepers

Malaysian candidates named

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Holbrooke to arrive in Indonesia

China warns US over Falun Gong

Thais hand back Cambodian antiques