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Indonesia rejects Jakarta U.N. rights office plan

Kyodo - March 7, 1997

Jakarta – The Indonesian government has rejected a plan by the United Nations to station a human rights commissioner in Jakarta to monitor the situation in East Timor, a newspaper said Friday.

'There are not enough grounds for the commissioner to place a representative in Jakarta to monitor the human rights situation in East Timor,' Hassan Wirayuda, director for international organizations at the Foreign Ministry, told the Jakarta Post daily.

Jose Ayala Lasso, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said in Geneva on Wednesday that an agreement would soon be reached with Jakarta to allow him to station a representative in Jakarta.

He also claimed that Indonesia had made a new proposal on the issue a fortnight ago.

Hassan, however, told the English-language daily that what Lasso had said was completely untrue.

When asked why he thought the U.N. commissioner would make such a false statement, Hassan replied, 'There's probably pressure from Western countries on Ayala Lasso's office to head in that direction.'

Indonesia will send a delegation, headed by Izhar Ibrahim, the Foreign Ministry's director general for political affairs, to the 50th annual meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, due to begin Monday in Geneva.

The East Timor issue is expected to be discussed during the second half of the six-week conference.

Indonesia invaded East Timor in 1976 and annexed it the following year as its 27th province. The U.N., however, still considers Portugal to be the territory's administering authority.