Subject: AFP: US Calls for restraint in ET, Aceh
Date: Wed, 06 Jan 1999 10:38:29 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" fbp@igc.apc.org

Agence France Presse January 04, 1999 US urges restraint in Indonesia

WASHINGTON, Jan 4

The United States on Monday called for restraint in Indonesia following clashes in East Timor and the troubled province of Aceh, saying order was essential to restore the economy.

Nine people died and scores more were injured during Indonesian military raids Sunday on separatist targets in Aceh province on the western tip of Indonesia, according to sources.

Clashes in East Timor left two men dead and five wounded in the territory, according to another source in the region.

"We call on all parties to refrain from violence in their pursuit of justice or compensation for past abuses," said State Department spokesman James Rubin.

"We urge the Indonesian government to fully investigate past military abuses in Aceh province and elsewhere," he added, saying those responsible should be brought to justice.

The State Department spokesman also urged the Indonesian government "to avoid the use of excessive force."

"While this process proceeds, social order is essential to the restoration of the economy and to minimize inter-ethnic tension," he noted.

Ambushes and attacks in Aceh have reignited fears of separatist tensions in the province, which has a long history of determined opposition to Dutch colonialists, the Japanese army in World War II and now the Jakarta government.

In East Timor, a former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1976, clashes broke out between supporters of a referendum and fighters backing autonomy for the territory.

The United States has repeatedly urged Indonesia to steer a course away from military rule after the resignation last year of president Suharto.

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