Subject: World Bank chief backs US warning to Indon to control militia

World Bank chief backs US warning to Indonesia to control militia

SYDNEY, Sept 19 (AFP) - World Bank president James Wolfensohn has backed a US warning that Indonesia faces a loss of international financial support unless it brings pro-Jakarta militia under control in West Timor.

Wolfensohn told reporters here Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid had a responsibility to demonstrate before a meeting of international donors next week that he was serious about tackling the militia.

"I would like to see the militia under control," Wolfensohn said during a brief visit to Sydney. "That is not in my power. It has to be in someone's and it is my hope that he will be able to do it."

He said he had written to Wahid last week warning that if he did not do something before the consultative group representing international donors meets next week "the chances are the donors are going to react."

His comments followed a demand by US Defense Secretary William Cohen to Wahid on Monday that Indonesia bring the militia under control as a matter of urgency and that failure to do so would threaten economic aid.

Speaking during a visit to Jakarta, Cohen said the militia must be disarmed, disbanded, and held accountable for their deeds.

"Failure to do so will have consequences for Jakarta's relations with the international community and it could impact, it could jeopardise, continued economic assistance to Indonesia," he said.

Cohen said the Indonesian leaders had indicated they understood that time was of the essence.

"Without the dismantling of the militias the problem will continue to fester," he said.

"What takes place in the coming weeks will determine what the international community's reaction will be, it could have certainly some serious financial implications," Cohen said.

Armed Forces Chief Admiral Widodo Adisucipto said after meeting Cohen earlier Monday that the militias were disbanded in 1999 after Indonesia relinquished East Timor to the United Nations in October.

Indonesian Defence Minister Mohamad Mahfud accused the United States of being partly to blame for violence in the province through its embargo on military cooperation which he said had deprived the military of the equipment necessary to rein in the militia.

Machete-wielding East Timorese militiamen attacked a UN office in West Timor border town of Atambua where they hacked to death three UN relief workers, including a US citizen, on September 6.

The militia fled to West Timor as UN-backed troops arrived last September to end a rampage of killings, arson and looting that followed an East Timorese vote for independence in their self-rule ballot.

Unknown numbers of East Timorese were killed and up to 300,000 driven across the border to West Timor.

Wolfensohn said he had written to Wahid because he was concerned the activities of the militia in West Timor were "screwing up" East Timor as the World Bank played a leading role in trying to rebuild it.

But he said it "was not an aggressive letter" and he had already received a positive response to it from Wahid.

Wolfensohn, who represented Australia in fencing at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, left here Tuesday after a brief visit to his home town to join surviving members of the 1956 Australian Olympic team at the Games.

He was bound for a meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Prague.

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