|Subject: AFP: Senior US official holds talks with
Habibie/Xanana on East Timor
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 1999 09:23:32 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Senior US official holds talks with Habibie on East Timor
JAKARTA, July 13 (AFP) - US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Stanley Roth, held talks here Tuesday with Indonesian President B.J. Habibie focusing on the act of free choice in East Timor. In a brief statement released after the two-hour meeting, Roth said East Timor and the June 7 Indonesian elections were the "two primary topics that were covered."
"We spent most of the time discussing the election, both what is taking place thus far and what will take place in the process leading up to the MPR and a very long discussion about the situation in East Timor," he said.
The MPR or People's Consulative Assembly is set to chose a new president in November.
Before Roth's departure from Washington last week, state department spokesman James Foley said Roth would be carrying a message to Habibie on the self-determination vote planned for August in East Timor.
"We have concerns about the safety of the vote, the integrity of the vote, and we believe that a vote is important," Foley said, referring to rampant violence by pro-Indonesian militia in the former Portuguese colony.
"We think that holding the vote and holding a successful vote -- a peaceful vote that produces a genuine reflection of the will of the people on East Timor -- is in the interests of Indonesia as well as in the interests of the people of East Timor and of the region," Foley said.
"I don't believe that Indonesia needs persuading that this is in its interests," he said, adding though that Washington did not have complete confidence the vote would go smoothly.
On Wednesday, the State Department urged Indonesia to control militia and paramilitary groups blamed for attacking an aid convoy and harassing UN officials in East Timor.
Roth also said he would be meeting other political leaders and top Indonesian officials including Foreign Minister Ali Alatas on Wednesday.
--- Top US official meets with jailed East Timorese resistance leader
JAKARTA, July 14 (AFP) - US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Stanley Roth, held talks here Wednesday with jailed East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao, witnesses said.
Roth, who is on a visit to Indonesia focused mainly on an upcoming vote on self-determination in the troubled territory, made no comment when he emerged from the hour-long meeting at Gusmao's jail house in Jakarta, they said.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is scheduled to decide later this week whether security conditions in East Timor are good enough for the vote to go ahead as scheduled next month, or whether they will have to be delayed again.
Gusmao, who is serving a 20-year sentence for armed rebellion against the state, is the leader of the Resistance Council for East Timor (CNRT). Jakarta has said it will not consider freeing him until after the vote.
Meanwhile the US embassy here confirmed that Roth would travel to East Timor on Thursday, where a UN mission composed of volunteer polling officers and unarmed UN civilian police are already in place to prepare for the vote.
Washington has in recent weeks strongly urged Indonesia to control armed pro-Indonesian militia in East Timor, blamed for attacks on pro-independence groups and on the UN mission (UNAMET).
"We've made it very clear, unmistakably clear, our view that the actions of the militias or paramilitaries on East Timor are unacceptable," State Department spokesman James Foley said on July 7.
"More importantly, the Indonesian government ... has a responsibility to bring those militias under control," he said, calling the referendum "an important process."
"It's a potential resolution to a long-simmering and very bloody problem with a potential way out that provides an opportunity for the people of East Timor to decide their own future peacefully," Foley said.
"And so we continue to call on the Indonesian government to meet its responsibilities, to ensure that the militias are brought under control and that threats to the UN cease, and that threats to the integrity of the vote cease as well."
Foley said later that Roth would be carrying that message to Indonesian President B.J. Habibie, with whom he held two hours of talks on Tuesday.
Before the meeting with Gusmao, Roth also held talks with Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas, the ministry said.
Alatas visited East Timor Monday with a strong contingent of fellow ministers including armed forces chief and defence minister general Wiranto (Eds: one name).
He said at the time that he felt security conditions were improving in the former Portuguese colony which was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, and that Indonesia was fully committed to the vote going ahead.
Indonesia has said it may consider letting East Timor go if its people vote against an offer of integration with broad autonomy.