Subject: CONG:Senator Feingold on Cohen's Visit

Contact: Ari Geller (202) 224-8657

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold On Secretary Cohen's visit to Indonesia

September 15, 2000

As Secretary Cohen embarks on his visit Indonesia, I hope that he is prepared to deliver a strong message to the Indonesian government

I am seriously concerned about the continued presence of militia in the refugee camps of West Timor and along the border with East Timor. These militia forces have continued to wage a campaign of violence and intimidation that drew global attention in the wake of East Timor's referendum on independence over a year ago. Two members of the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor have been killed by militia forces, and most recently, militia members killed three employees of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and a number of Timorese civilians. Throughout the past year, Indonesian military forces have failed to take action to disarm and disband these militia forces. Most recently, Indonesia has indicated that it will block a United Nations Security Council mission to investigate the latest violence.

In May I introduced a bill, the East Timor Repatriation and Security Act of 2000, which would codify a comprehensive suspension of military and security relations with and assistance to Indonesia until certain conditions are met. This legislation would permit military and security programs from joint exercises to military sales to resume only when the President can determine that the Government of Indonesia and the Indonesian armed forces have taken effective measures to disarm and disband the militias and to bring those accountable for human rights violations to justice. Recent events suggest that the time has come to press forward with this legislation.

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