Subject: RT: Foreign police to go to Timor, vote date set
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 08:45:33 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

FOCUS-Foreign police to go to Timor, vote date set

By Jane Nelson

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, April 27 (Reuters) - Foreign police will be stationed in East Timor as part of a U.N.-backed peace plan for the bloodied territory which will vote on independence on August 8, Indonesia President B.J. Habibie said on Tuesday.

His comments advance what appears to be an inevitable move towards independence for East Timor where Indonesia's long and often savage rule has brought Jakarta little but international notoriety.

``In part of the agreement, the United Nations will send police to act as advisers,'' Habibie told a news conference after meeting Australian Prime Minister John Howard on the island of Bali.

Australia, one of the few countries to recognise Indonesia's 23-year rule in East Timor, has been at the forefront of recent international efforts to resolve the territory's future.

The Australian delegation were upbeat about the talks, saying they had got more out of them than they had expected, and predicted the opening of a consulate in the East Timor capital Dili by the end of May.

``I recognise the difficulties faced and I also recognise very genuinely the commitment that the president and his government have made to a process which will allow a full and free choice by the people of East Timor,'' Howard told the news conference.

His foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said the number of police Australia would provide was under debate, but ranged from 30 to 300. Canberra would also contribute A$20 million (US$13 million) in aid for the East Timor ballot.

The talks follow agreement last week in New York between Indonesia and East Timor's former colonial ruler, Portugal, to give East Timorese the chance to vote on an autonomy package.

If that is rejected Habibie has said East Timorese could be handed independence, reversing nearly quarter of a century of insistence by Jakarta that the territory, one of the poorest regions in Asia, was irreversibly part of Indonesia.

Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975 -- with the tacit support of the United States and inspired by the Cold War fear of communist expansion in Asia -- has brought it mostly grief.

Analysts say that with the rest of Indonesia barely surviving widespread political and economic turmoil, Habibie decided that Indonesia could no longer afford its international pariah image because of mass human rights abuses in East Timor.

Habibie will present the East Timor vote on August 29 to the People's Consultative Assembly, Indonesia's highest legislative assembly, which has the power to allow East Timor to split from the rest of the huge archipelago. Many analysts expect East Timorese to reject Jakarta's autonomy package and opt for independence.

The prospect of independence has seen spiralling violence in East Timor, with thousands of pro-Jakarta militias going on the rampage, demanding that the territory be divided up.

Dozens, possibly more than a hundred, have died in the most recent violence by the militias, which human rights officials and others accuse the Indonesian military of backing.

Some analysts say the Indonesian military, which has lost thousands of its own men, in the battle to keep East Timor, is unwilling to so easily give away the territory.

Habibie said he asked the United Nations to invite six nations -- Britain, Germany, the United States, the Philippines, Australia and Japan -- to help it arrange the August ballot.

``To make it fair and open, I have full confidence in the United Nations,'' Habibie said when asked how he would disarm the militias to ensure the vote could take place.

``We will provide the option where they will get special autonomy for integration with Indonesia and the other is...we will separate with peace as friends and in honour,'' he said.

FOCUS-Foreign police in E.Timor in May-Indonesia 07:07 a.m. Apr 27, 1999 Eastern

By Tomi Soetjipto

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, April 27 (Reuters) - Indonesia's armed forces, criticised for backing violent pro-Jakarta militias in East Timor, said on Tuesday foreign police would go to the bloodied territory next month ahead of a vote on independence.

``Next month the United Nations will send police to give assistance to the Indonesian police,'' military commander General Wiranto told reporters.

The police will be stationed in East Timor as part of a U.N.-backed peace plan set to culminate in a ballot on August 8 which will ask the East Timorese to vote on autonomy or independence.

Most observers expect an overwhelming vote for independence after 23 years of often savage Indonesian rule that has brought Jakarta little but international notoriety.

The number of police, which Indonesia insists would act as advisers and not as a U.N. peace-keeping force, would depend on further discussions, he added.

He was speaking after talks on East Timor in the resort island of Bali between Indonesian President B.J. Habibie and Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

Australia, one of the few countries to recognise Indonesia's rule in East Timor, has been at the forefront of recent international efforts to resolve the territory's future.

The Australian delegation were upbeat about the talks, saying they had got more out of them than they had expected, and predicted they would open a consulate in the East Timor capital Dili by the end of May.

``I recognise the difficulties faced and I also recognise very genuinely the commitment that the president and his government have made to a process which will allow a full and free choice by the people of East Timor,'' Howard told the news conference.

His foreign minister, Alexander Downer, said the number of police Australia would provide was under debate, but ranged from 30 to 300. Canberra would also contribute A$20 million (US$13 million) in aid for the East Timor ballot.

The talks follow agreement last week in New York between Indonesia and East Timor's former colonial ruler, Portugal, to give East Timorese the chance to vote on an autonomy package.

Habibie said that if the ballot rejects increased autonomy, the East Timorese could be handed independence, reversing nearly quarter of a century of insistence by Jakarta that the territory, one of the poorest regions in Asia, was irreversibly part of Indonesia.

Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975 -- with the tacit support of the United States and inspired by the Cold War fear of communist expansion in Asia -- has brought it mostly grief.

Analysts say that with the rest of Indonesia struggling to survive widespread political and economic turmoil, Habibie decided that Indonesia could no longer afford the damage to its international image caused by mass human rights abuses in East Timor.

Habibie will present the results of the ballot on August 29 to the People's Consultative Assembly, Indonesia's top legislative body, which has the power to sanction East Timor's split from the rest of the huge archipelago. Many analysts expect East Timorese to reject Jakarta's autonomy package and opt for independence.

The prospect of independence has seen spiralling violence in East Timor, with thousands of pro-Jakarta militias going on the rampage, demanding that the territory be divided up.

Dozens, possibly more than a hundred, have died in the most recent violence by the militias. Human rights officials and others accuse the Indonesian military of backing the pro-Jakarta militias.

Some analysts say the Indonesian military, which has lost thousands of its own men in the 24-year battle to keep East Timor, is unwilling to give away the territory so easily.

Habibie said he asked the United Nations to invite six nations -- Britain, Germany, the United States, the Philippines, Australia and Japan -- to help it arrange the August ballot.

``To make it fair and open, I have full confidence in the United Nations,'' Habibie said when asked how he would disarm the militias to ensure the vote could take place.

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