|Subject: AFP: US urges Indonesia to control
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 16:52:06 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Received from Joyo Indonesian News:
US urges Indonesia to control paramilitaries
WASHINGTON, July 7 (AFP) - The State Department on Wednesday urged Indonesia to control militia and paramilitary groups blamed for attacking an aid convoy and harassing UN officials in East Timor.
"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.
"More importantly, the Indonesian government ... has a responsibility to bring those militias under control," he said, calling a referendum on East Timorese independence in August "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."
"We think this is an important vote. We want it to take place. But it must take place under appropriate and safe conditions," he said.
Earlier Wednesday in Jakarta, the chief of the UN Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) asked the Indonesian armed forces to rein in pro-Indonesian militia before the planned vote on self-determination next month.
UNAMET chief Ian Martin, speaking after a meeting with Indonesian armed forces chief General Wiranto, also hinted at another delay in the vote unless conditions improve.
UNAMET teams in three outposts have been pulled back because of harassment by militia forces also responsible for an attack Sunday on a humanitarian aid convoy.
In earlier statements, Martin has said the militia attacks exhibited a "disturbing pattern" and called police inaction to halt the convoy attack "inexcusable."
UN chief Kofi Annan will determine July 13 whether security conditions permit the poll to go ahead in August, two weeks later than originally planned.
In next month's ballot, East Timorese will be asked whether they want the former Portuguese territory, annexed by Jakarta in 1976, to remain part of Indonesia or to become independent.