September 1999: UN chief says Jakarta must accept foreign
(with Agencies, Michael Littlejohns, Gwen Robinson)
Annan, the United Nations secretary general, yesterday called
on Indonesia to accept immediately foreign peacekeepers to
restore order on the island.
Annan said he had asked Australia to lead the establishment
of a multinational force that the Philippines, Malaysia and
New Zealand were all willing to join. But a necessary element
was an Indonesian acquiescence, without with the Security
Council could not give its blessing.
Downer, Australian foreign minister, suggested yesterday that
it was no longer a case of "if" but "when" foreign troops
should go into East Timor. Speaking in Auckland at the gathering
of Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation countries, Mr Downer
said it was possible Jakarta would permit a UN-backed peacekeeping
force to enter East Timor before the Indonesian parliament
convened - possibly next month - to ratify the territory's
claimed there could be "no argument" that peacekeepers could
enter after ratification of the independence vote, but there
was now an "overwhelming view" that it might happen earlier.
Downer said the coalition of countries willing to commit troops
had broadened significantly in the past week to include a
number of Asian countries as well as the US, Canada, Australia,
the UK and New Zealand. The involvement of Asian countries,
which normally stay clear of one another's internal affairs,
would be unprecedented.
Annan warned that those responsible for the massacres, including
the Indonesian army, could face international charges of crimes
Clinton, US president, due to arrive in Auckland late yesterday,
angrily condemned the violence, saying it was "simply unacceptable".
He also accused the Indonesian army of aiding and abetting
the militias. "The Indonesian government and military must
reverse this course, do everything possible to stop the violence
and allow an international force to make possible the restoration
of security," Mr Clinton said.
Thursday the US suspended military relations with Indonesia
and threatened to suspend economic assistance as well if the
country continued to resist East Timor's desire for independence.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have frozen
all assistance, adding to the pressure on the country to sort
out the situation.
Alatas, Indonesia's foreign minister, said yesterday: "Indonesia
regrets the (US) decision to review its economic assistance.
.. Economic and financial aid has broad implications for Indonesia."
Baird, the World Bank's country director in Indonesia, warned
that an aid cut-off would not improve the situation in East
Timor. Instead, it would damage the broader economy and hit
poor people throughout the archipelago.
Mr Downer warned that regardless of specific aid programmes,
Indonesia's economy would "suffer grievously" if it did not
restore peace in East Timor, or allow UN peacekeepers in.
UN leaves only symbolic presence The United Nations evacuated
most of its remaining staff from East Timor yesterday, leaving
a small group in symbolic protection of up to 700 refugees
against militia and Indonesian soldiers lurking outside, writes
Wiranto, Indonesia's military commander, yesterday suggested
UN peacekeeping troops could be allowed in early, before their
scheduled arrival in November, but not until his troops had
restored order. "We do not reject the UN peacekeeping forces,
but it is not really the appropriate time for them to come
in, because a number of native East Timorese people have had
such an emotional reaction against the Unamet (the UN mission
there)," he said.
than 20,000 Indonesian troops and police have done little
to restore order and imposition of martial law earlier this
week has had only a limited effect in the Timorese capital
Dili. Shooting continued in the city yesterday although there
were few people left.
(C) Financial Times Ltd, 1982-1997