Subject: Horta: EU arms embargo must continue after 17 January


The following statement was sent to Ms de Boer, chair of the Standing Commission on Foreign Affairs of the Dutch Parliament:

The embargo on arms sales and military co-operation with Indonesia, installed by the European Union on September 16th of 1999, is a sign that the Union wants to support a peaceful settlement for the problems concerning Indonesia and East Timor. I applaud this EU initiative.

Although the present developments in East Timor and Indonesia are promising, it is of great importance that the current embargo - which is in power only until next 17 January - will be extended.

The destruction and human suffering caused by 24 years of Indonesian military occupation are indescribable. For the peace of the region and in particular for the future of East Timor it is crucial the embargo stays in power at least until:

- all East Timorese refugees have returned safely back to East Timor (currently still around 25,000) - all militia are disarmed and - Indonesia cooperates with the commission of investigation established by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

Moreover I would like to point to the fact that the Indonesian armed forces (TNI) play a very controversial role in the Moluccas, Irian Jaya/West Papua, Aceh and Kalimantan, and as well in the repression of the opposition within Indonesia. An embargo is necessary until TNI becomes subordinate to democratic control.

Therefore I urge the Dutch Parliament and Government to take all necessary steps to make sure the military embargo of the European Union will be extended.

In case the European Union does not agree upon extension, I call upon the Netherlands:

- to use the competence given in the EU Code of Conduct on arms sales to implement a more severe arms export policy on a bilateral level and thus extend the arms embargo in the Netherlands, - to take all necessary steps to make sure that as many as possible other member states participate in bilateral arms export restrictions.

Yours sincerely,
Jose Ramos-Horta, Vice-President CNRT

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