|Subject: CNS: Vatican official joins calls for
peacekeeping force in East Timor
Date: Thu, 09 Sep 1999 16:35:56 +0900
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
TIMOR-TAURAN Sep-8-1999 (240 words) xxxi Vatican official joins calls for peacekeeping force in East Timor By Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Echoing many world leaders, a top Vatican official called for an international peacekeeping force in East Timor. ``The Holy See supports the efforts of the international community, and in particular the efforts of the (U.N.) Security Council, for the immediate adoption of a resolution calling for the creation of an international peacekeeping force,'' Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, deputy secretary of state for foreign relations, told Vatican Radio Sept. 7. The archbishop called the Aug. 30 independence referendum in East Timor an ``important event'' that ``cannot be erased.'' ``This is why what has been happening there in recent days cannot be tolerated,'' he said. More than 78 percent of East Timorese voted to free themselves from Indonesian rule. In response, pro-Indonesia militias embarked on a violent rampage, attacking church officials, threatening religious orders and reportedly killing hundreds of civilians. Archbishop Tauran said a nonviolent solution to East Timor's problems must be found, one that respects the history and traditions of the Timorese people. The Vatican's nuncio to the United Nations, Archbishop Renato Martino, also said he supported sending peacekeeping troops to East Timor. In an interview with Vatican Radio Sept. 7, Archbishop Martino said that in light of the referendum's results, ``a peacekeeping intervention would no longer be an intrusion into a country's internal affairs, but a defense of the will of the population.'' Indonesia's defense minister, Gen. Wiranto, has ruled out the possibility of armed foreign peacekeepers in East Timor.