Also: Kennedy Keep Up The Pressure
On Indonesia Until Violence Against East Timorese Ends
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 25, 2000
FOREIGN OPERATIONS BUDGET CONTAINS $25 MILLION TO HELP PROVIDE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE OF NEWLY INDEPENDENT EAST TIMOR
WASHINGTON -- The foreign operations budget which passed the U.S. House today included $25 million to provide economic opportunities for the newly independent people of East Timor, according to Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI).
Kennedy is one of the strongest supporters in Congress of helping the people of East Timor, a former colony of Portugal which gained its independence last year after more than 20 years of occupation by the Indonesian government.
The funding is from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as an Economic Rehabilitation and Development Project, also known as the East Timor Coffee Project.
The funding was included in the final Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, approved by both the House and Senate after a conference of an equal number of members of both chambers worked out the differences in the separate House and Senate bills. Kennedy assisted Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in contacting the members of the conference committee, known as conferees, to urge support of the funding for East Timor.
"I am very supportive of the USAID East Timor Coffee Project and its efforts to increase the business and trade opportunities for the people of East Timor," said Kennedy. "I am also pleased that the conferees agreed to language that shows concern over reports that certain individuals are trying to monopolize coffee control, as this would be devastating to thousands of farmers in East Timor."
President Clinton is expected to soon sign the foreign operations bill.
see also: ETAN: U.S. Congress Reaffirms Support for East Timor in Foreign Operations Appropriations
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KENNEDY: KEEP UP THE PRESSURE ON INDONESIA UNTIL VIOLENCE AGAINST EAST TIMORESE ENDS
WASHINGTON – On the one-year anniversary of the results of East Timor's overwhelming vote for independence being announced, Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy (D-RI) is calling on the Clinton Administration to keep the pressure on Indonesia to cease the violence against the East Timorese people.
Kennedy is also calling for the creation of an international human rights tribunal to seek justice against the Indonesian militia leaders who carried out the mass violence and terror following the vote for independence. Three-quarters of the population was displaced and most of the country's infrastructure was destroyed as militias burned the capital city of Dili. More than 1,000 people were killed after the vote.
Since then, the people of East Timor have begun to successfully rebuild their shattered land under a temporary United Nations' administration. Yet, over 100,000 East Timorese refugees remain trapped in militia-controlled camps in West Timor, where they were driven last year.
"I applaud the bravery and persistence of the East Timorese on this historic anniversary," said Kennedy. "At the same time, I strongly condemn the continuing Indonesian military-supported violence."
Kennedy is a leader in Congress on behalf of the people of East Timor, a former colony of Portugal which had been occupied by the Indonesian government.
"I call on the U.S. Administration to continue its former policy of complete military disengagement with Indonesia's armed forces, and to cease all planned phased re-engagement, until the unacceptable violence has ended and justice has been provided to the people of East Timor, " Kennedy commented. "It is the least we can do to promote peace and reconciliation after all the East Timorese people suffered under twenty-four years of Indonesian occupation."
Kennedy, a strong supporter of a permanent international criminal court, also is concerned about the lack of an international tribunal on the atrocities that occurred last year following the referendum.
"Of great concern to me is the passage of a constitutional amendment in the People's Consultative Assembly that prohibits retroactivity in human rights trials," Kennedy added. "This, in effect, will shield the Indonesian military from any genuine accountability
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