Subject: SMH: Timorese fear sabotage of transition
Date: Fri, 02 Apr 1999 08:03:00 -0500
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo:

Sydney Morning Herald 02/04/99

*Timorese fear sabotage of transition


Hopes of a peaceful United Nations-supervised vote to decide East Timor's future are fading amid escalating tension among rival Timorese activists and an attack on Indonesia's armed forces commander, General Wiranto, by the resistance leader, Xanana Gusmao.

Diplomats and analysts in Jakarta now fear that East Timor could quickly descend into chaos and further violence unless the UN acts quickly to send peacekeepers.

But Mr Mario Carrascalao, a former governor of East Timor with strong links to the Indonesian Government, told the Herald last night that Jakarta had no intention of allowing international peacekeepers to supervise the vote.

"I don't think the Indonesians will agree to international peacekeepers ... that is my information," he said. "They propose that ABRI [the Indonesian military] will be in the villages when the vote is taken."

Indonesia's President, Dr B.J. Habibie, has promised independence if East Timorese reject an offer of widespread autonomy in a vote it insists should be held in July.

Delivering his strongest attack since the announcement, Xanana appealed to the international community to hold General Wiranto accountable for "murders and violence" perpetrated by the armed forces in Timor, predicting a military strategy to tighten control over the territory's 800,000 people to force them to opt for autonomy.

Xanana, now under house arrest in Jakarta, told the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva that the "terror, intimidation and murder to which the people are already being subjected will be intensified.

"I find myself compelled to inform the international community that if strong and effective pressure is not brought to bear on Indonesia to immediately disarm the civilian militias, the people of East Timor are liable to lose their patience and, in the bloodbath that would ensue, the only humanitarian assistance required will be to help bury our dead," he said.

A senior official of Indonesia's Foreign Ministry, Mr Dino Patti Djalal, defended General Wiranto, saying Indonesia's changed policy towards East Timor was not that of the armed forces commander or the military but the Indonesian Government, which was acting with humility and sincerity.

Mr Djalal said there were two sides to the violence in East Timor, where people are getting killed almost every day. He said if Xanana was committed to peace he should order his guerillas to return a cache of high-powered weapons they stole after raiding an Indonesian military post, killing three soldiers, last year.

Indonesia's Foreign Minister, Mr Ali Alatas, has repeatedly denied accusations that his Government wants to disrupt the autonomy vote but has acknowledged that civilians have received training from the military in a nationwide program to bolster the security forces.

While a senior UN official, Mr Francesc Vendrell, said in Australia this week that the UN would need a presence in East Timor soon to begin preparations for a July autonomy ballot, military experts say it would be almost impossible to put international troops or police into East Timor's 404 villages with only months' notice.

Peter Cole-Adams reports from Canberra: For the first time, a local Indonesian radio station, Radio Andyta in the troubled Sumatran province of Aceh, broadcast live yesterday a Radio Australia Indonesian-language news service.

The ABC's managing director, Mr Brian Johns, described the station's decision to take the daily Bahasa Indonesian program as "a tremendous breakthrough" and a testament to Radio Australia's credibility in Indonesia.

Until now, the Radio Australia program has only been widely available, via short wave, in provinces such as Ambon, East Timor and West Irian in the eastern part of Indonesia.

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