August 29, 1999
PRESIDENT B. J. HABIBIE
President of the Republic of Indonesia
Jakarta Pusat INDONESIA
By fax to: (021) 345 7782
Dear Mr. President:
We are writing to you at a critical moment for Indonesia and East Timor. We believe that it is not too late for the Indonesian government, which supports the Popular Consultation in East Timor, to rescue the process.
The IFET Observer Project is a UNAMET-accredited observer group which includes 120 volunteers from all over the world. We have been here for several weeks, and have teams working in every district of East Timor. Our observers have been collecting information, speaking with officials, campaigners and voters, and watching developments relating to the Popular Consultation.
As you know, there are serious problems of violence and intimidation which threaten to undermine the legitimacy of tomorrowís vote. If that happens, it will have serious repercussions for all of Indonesia for many years.
We are convinced that you and some others in the Indonesian government sincerely want the vote to proceed in a free and fair manner. We appeal to your commitment and your strength to control those in your government, police, and defense forces who do not agree. Even at this late hour, strong action by courageous leaders in Jakarta could stop the violence and reduce the fear that threatens to prevent or contaminate tomorrowís ballot.
Your record in expanding Indonesian democracy over the past 16 months indicates that you believe that people should decide their own government. Your initiatives and follow-through in the East Timor tripartite negotiations reinforce that view. But if the Consultation tomorrow ends in disaster or terror, history will remember you as a weak figurehead who could not deliver on his promises.
That would be a tragedy, and we believe it would not be accurate. Please take whatever actions you can to stop those who continue to inflict violence and terror on the people in East Timor, including elements of your own police, military and intelligence units.
We also appeal to you to accept an expanded international security presence in East Timor. This would be a sign of strength and commitment.
Thank you, and we wish you courage at this critical time. Please feel free to contact us if you would like any of our reports or other information.
International Coordinator, IFET Observer Project
Return to IFET's Main Page