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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 2, 2001
Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate
March 2, 2001
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
On August 25, 2000, President Clinton provided a report to the Congress regarding the continued deployment of U.S. Armed Forces in support of East Timor's transition to independence. I am providing this supplemental report, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, to help ensure that the Congress is kept fully informed regarding U.S. Armed Forces in East Timor.
As you are aware, U.N. Security Council Resolution 1272 established the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) on October 25, 1999. The UNTAET's mandate includes providing security and maintaining law and order throughout East Timor, establishing an effective administration, ensuring the coordination and delivery of humanitarian assistance, and supporting capacity-building for self-government. The United States currently contributes three military observers to UNTAET. These personnel are assigned to the United Nations pursuant to the United Nations Participation Act (Public Law 79-264), and operate under U.N. operational control.
The United States also maintains a military presence in East Timor that is separate from UNTAET. This includes the U.S. Support Group East Timor (USGET), comprised of approximately 12 U.S. personnel, including a security detachment, which facilitates and coordinates U.S. military activities in East Timor, and a rotational presence of U.S. forces through temporary deployments to East Timor. These rotational presence operations include monthly Navy ship visits and deployments of military medical and engineering teams that conduct humani-tarian and civic assistance activities in areas critical to East Timor's citizens. United States forces assigned to USGET and those conducting rotational presence operations operate under U.S. command and control and U.S. rules of engagement. The United Nations has indicated that East Timor has benefited greatly from U.S. military deployments and engagement activities in East Timor and strongly supports the continued U.S. presence there.
At this point, our rotational presence operations are envisioned to continue through December 2001. The duration of our support depends upon the course of events in East Timor. It is, however, our objective to reduce the rotational presence operations, as well as to redeploy USGET, as soon as circumstances permit.
I have authorized the continuation of this action pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive. I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.
GEORGE W. BUSH
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