|Subject: SMH: Jakarta bans propaganda use for aid
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 1999 14:36:08 +0000
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
Sydney Morning Herald 16/06/99
Jakarta bans propaganda use for aid money
By PETER COLE-ADAMS, MARK DODD and LINDSAY MURDOCH
The Indonesian Government says it has stopped attempts by the provincial government in East Timor to channel money from an aid budget into the anti-independence campaign for the territory's forthcoming plebiscite.
Dr Dewi Fortuna Anwar, senior foreign policy adviser to the President, Dr B.J. Habibie, said yesterday that Jakarta had refused a request made by East Timor's Governor Abilio Soares for the disbursement of money from the national budget to be used for sosialisasi- a propaganda program for East Timor to choose wider autonomy within Indonesia over the independence option in the August 8 ballot.
Dr Anwar said the request was denied because of fears the money may have been misused.
Asked whether the refusal to send the money had anything to do with the personal image of Governor Soares, Dr Anwar said: "Well, there have been lots of complaints about the local government of East Timor."
Dr Anwar said the responsibility for informing the people of East Timor about Jakarta's autonomy package rested with the United Nations, not the local government.
Governor Soares' approval of pro-autonomy campaign funding requests by local mayors, revealed in documents cited by the Herald yesterday, has led to the the UN mission in East Timor raising its concern with Indonesian authorities, a senior UN official said yesterday.
The documents received by the Herald showed local authorities planned to use some $A7 million in poverty alleviation funds to promote pro-autonomy actions, breaking the agreement signed by Indonesia with Portugal and the UN for the act of self-determination in the former Portuguese colony.
"We have requested that appropriate instructions are issued to all East Timorese government officials which clearly state the limitations on their activities within the popular consultation process," said UN spokesman Mr David Wimhurst.
"Namely, they cannot participate in any official capacity in any campaign rallies. No public money can be used to fund any of these events, no resources can be used and the pressure of public office cannot be brought to bear to influence voter decisions."
In Canberra, a spokesman for the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Downer, said the Government had no evidence of any misuse of Australian aid funds, which were usually channelled through contracted project managers and multilateral organisations, not the Indonesian Government. Australia is East Timor's largest foreign aid donor, providing about $7 million this financial year.