Subject: IHT: Ramos Horta op-ed "Yes to Kosovo, No to East Timor?"
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 08:53:10 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <fbp@igc.apc.org>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

International Herald Tribune Thursday, April 29, 1999

Yes to Kosovo, No to East Timor?

By José Ramos-Horta International Herald Tribune-

NEW YORK - There has been a flurry of high-minded rhetoric from NATO leaders. British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote in the April 19 international edition of Newsweek: ''We need to enter a new millennium where dictators know that they cannot get away with ethnic cleansing or repress their peoples with impunity. In this conflict we are fighting ... for a new internationalism where the brutal repression of whole ethnic groups will no longer be tolerated.''

Mr. Blair was referring to Kosovo and Serbia, not to East Timor and Indonesia. Yet in East Timor, paramilitary groups organized and armed by the Indonesian military have killed scores of defenseless civilians in recent weeks.

It is no surprise that Mr. Blair does not direct such lofty proclamations at East Timor. His Labour government has granted more weapons export licenses to the Indonesian military than the previous Conservative government.

The NATO allies demand complete Serbian troop withdrawal from Kosovo and an international military presence. Britain refuses to demand an Indonesian troop withdrawal from East Timor (for which Portugal remains the administering authority under international law) despite the fact that the territory is illegally occupied. Indonesia invaded it in 1975 and annexed it in 1976, an act never recognized by the United Nations.NATO's leaders threaten senior Serbian officials with a war crimes tribunal. For East Timor, where massacres and ethnic cleansing have been going on for 23 years, there are no suggestions of such a tribunal for Indonesia's military leaders, many of whom have received training in NATO countries. Indonesia receives mild rebukes and gets hundreds of millions of dollars in weaponry and billions of dollars in loans and grants.

East Timorese paramilitaries backed by the Indonesian military have recently intensified their killing and intimidation directed at those who support independence. This has continued despite the signing of a peace pact last week in the East Timor capital, Dili, in the presence of Indonesia's armed forces commander and Defense Minister General Wiranto.

Overall, the European Union has taken a mild approach. As the situation in East Timor continues to deteriorate and evidence mounts of the Indonesian military's direct complicity in the killings, additional steps are clearly necessary.

Most NATO leaders have merely expressed ''concern.'' Some have called for ''all sides'' to cease hostile activities, although they know that the Indonesian military and its East Timorese proxies are slaughtering defenseless people, not responding to military attacks from pro-independence guerrillas and their activist supporters.

There are no UN resolutions supporting self-determination for the people of Kosovo. In the case of East Timor, the world community has recognized its right to self-determination on numerous occasions. Both the UN Security Council and the General Assembly have condemned the invasion of East Timor and demanded Indonesia's immediate withdrawal.

The overwhelming majority of East Timorese support independence. They are not calling on NATO to bomb Indonesia. They want NATO countries to cancel all military deliveries to and training and joint exercises with Indonesia, and expel Indonesian military attachés from the capitals of NATO countries.

NATO governments should also freeze all bilateral financial transfers to Jakarta, and pressure the World Bank and the IMF to do the same until Indonesian soldiers and police end their state terrorist activities in East Timor.

The writer, an East Timorese Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is vice president of the National Council of Timorese Resistance, an umbrella group of organizations that support independence. He contributed this comment to the International Herald Tribune.

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