Subject: AFP: Indonesia "deplores" attack on aid convoy in East Timor
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:46:51 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

Received from Joyo Indonesian News:

Indonesia "deplores" attack on aid convoy in East Timor

JAKARTA, July 5 (AFP) - Indonesia Monday said it "deplored and is seriously concerned" over the attack on an aid convoy which included two UN cars in East Timor and pledged to bring those responsible to justice.

"The government of the Republic of Indonesia strongly deplores and is seriously concerned over the physical assault committed (Sunday) by a group of East Timorese," in the Liquisa district west of Dili, a two-page official ministry statement distributed here said.

"The government of Indonesia is determined to bring those responsible to justice," it said.

The statement did not however identify the attackers as the Besi Merah Putih (Red and White Iron) militia, who are backed by the Indonesian military and now control the Liquisa district.

Instead it called them "a group of East Timorese" and said they had been angered the previous day by an ambush by "anti-integration forces" who the previous day shot dead one man and injured two others.

"For reasons still unknown," the statement said, the frustration and anger of the group was "unleashed against the convoy of cars".

The Indonesian police, it added, would "guarantee the safety of UNAMET's personnel in carrying out their tasks everywhere in East Timor, including Liquisa".

The statement, issued late Monday night, came after the United Nations urged Jakarta to keep the pro-Indonesian militias in East Timor under control.

The head of the United Nations Assessment Mission to East TimorIan Martin was also due to travel to Jakarta Tuesday for talks with Foreign Minister Ali Alatas.

"We want to see the Indonesian government getting the militia under control," said Fred Eckhard, spokesman for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York.

Eckhard sounded a warning that the violence could totally derail, not just postpone, a UN-held ballot on self-determination in East Timor, a former Portuguese colony invaded by Indonesia in 1975.

"I don't think anyone has yet made a judgment on whether or not the consultation (on autonomy for East Timor) can go forward," he said.

The unarmed UN personel started to deploy in East Timor in May to conduct a vote which had been scheduled for August 8 on whether the territory would accept an autonomy offer from Indonesia.

Martin said earlier Monday there had been a disturbing pattern to the militia attacks and harrassment against UNAMET and accused the Indonesian police of an "inexcusable lack of action".

Indonesia invaded the former Portuguese colony of East Timor in 1975 in a move never recognized by the United Nations.

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