|Subject: IO: Indonesia calls for ceasefire
Date: Sat, 17 Apr 1999 08:47:10 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
14th April 1999 Front Page RI calls for ceasefire
JAKARTA (IO) The government yesterday called for a cease fire from warring groups in the troubled province of East Timor.
"All warring factions and other elements in East Timor must stop cease fire and stop fighting among themselves," Foreign Minister Ali Alatas told reporters here yesterday.
Fighting between pro-independence and pro-integration groups has escalated since East Timorese rebel leader Xanana Gusmao called for war against the Indonesian military.
The former Portuguese colony of East Timor was integrated into Indonesia in 1976 in a move never recognized by the United Nations.
Early this year, the government offered independence to the troubled territory should the people of East Timor reject broad, special autonomy under the Red and White (Indonesian) flag.
Meanwhile, the National Commission for Human Rights, Komnas HAM yesterday urged the government to take all possible measures to bring back law and order to the bloodied province.
"If the government fails to restore law and order in the territory, demands for a UN peacekeeping force will get stronger," Komnas HAM chairman Marzuki Darusman told the press after meeting with President BJ Habibie at the Merdeka Palace.
The rights body discussed with the president, a plan to set up an independent commission for human rights and peace in East Timor in a bid to help find a peaceful solution to the thorny issue.
Alatas said the government fully supports the plan. The commission will bring together all factions in East Timor including the anti-Jakarta movement under Xanana.
The president has also instructed provincial apparatuses in the territory to assist the International Committee for Red Cross in its probe of the recent violence in Liquisa. President Habibie also asked Komnas HAM to send a fact-finding team to the war zone to obtain a balanced report on the incidents.
Meanwhile, the European Union yesterday issued a declaration condemning the acts of violence in East Timor and urged the Indonesian authorities to immediately intervene and stop such actions by militias.
"The European Union urges the Indonesian authorities to hold accountable those who are responsible for such killings," the declaration said in a press statement issued by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Germany is incumbent president of the European Union.