Subject: AFP: Ramos-Horta attacks Australia's for policy
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 20:35:05 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Agence France Presse
East Timor activist Ramos Horta attacks Australia's foreign policies SYDNEY, Nov 29
East Timor resistance leader Jose Ramos Horta said Sunday Australia's foreign policies were morally bankrupt and devoid of new ideas after Canberra gave its support to Indonesian military chief General Wiranto.
The 1996 Nobel peace prize winner said the move highlighted a government lacking courage. "Australia's foreign policy is morally bankrupt, devoid of new ideas, devoid of courage," he said in Sydney.
"Things are changing, things in Indonesia are developing fast but Australia clings to the old policies of embracing the military which is under severe criticism in the new Indonesia." Defence Minister John Moore returned Sunday from talks with Wiranto and Indonesian President B.J. Habibie in which he praised the armed forces, saying there was no reason why Australia could not work with them in the future. "We understand the enormous role ABRI (Indonesian armed forces) plays in this country," Moore said. "We have very good understandings with them. General Wiranto is a very competent person."
Wiranto is facing harsh criticism for the actions of his troops in recent weeks, in which dozens of students have been killed during bloody riots on Jakarta's streets. Ramos Horta, who lives in exile, said Australia should cease military cooperation with Indonesia until it had achieved genuine democracy. "The problem with Australia is that instead of supporting democracy -- and democracy means that the army must get out of politics in Indonesia -- it goes on embracing the same people that kept Suharto in power for 32 years," he said. "Embracing the same thugs who are responsible for the genocide in East Timor, the killings of the students in Jakarta."
Ramos Horta has previously claimed successive Australian governments have helped Indonesia cover up its atrocities in East Timor.
He said those directly responsible for crimes in East Timor should be brought to justice in the same way that former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet is expected to be. An announcement Saturday by a United Nations envoy that Indonesia and Portugal were moving closer to an agreement to give East Timor wide-ranging autonomy was met with caution. "If that autonomy arrangement removes Indonesian troops out of East Timor and all prisoners are released, if it is a transition arrangement until a referendum on self-determination can be held, it is acceptable," he said. "We will reject forcefully if autonomy means we remain within the Indonesian republic." Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony in 1975 and declared it its 27th province the following year. Australia is the only country to have formally recognised the annexation. mp/jal