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Subject: Where to?
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 23:04:46 +0930
From: Rob Wesley-Smith <> Organization: Australians for a Free East Timor (AFFET) /Troppo Rural Consulting

Where are the UN Negotiations headed, and where SHOULD they go ...?
opinion piece by Rob Wesley-Smith 22 Dec 1998

> Is it true that Embassador Marker has called East Timorese resistance > movement as separatist? I am surprised. Constancio Pinto

I wouldn't be. But it is not clear from the AP reports if Mr Marker said this or not, as it was not written as a direct quote.

Unfortunately AP is perhaps the worst of many reporters who continue to misreport basic facts about the East Timor situation. This may have been partly excusable when to tell the whole truth risked expulsion, but there is no excuse now.

eg 'separatist', 'rebel', 'separatist rebel war', GPK, 'Fretilin' for 'Falintil', never 'the invaded', or 'Resistance', or 'freedom fighters'

Marker makes many statements which I believe show a bias towards Indonesia which should rule him out of his special role.

Some are quoted in the AETN email campaign letter of November:

He rejected proposals to send UN monitors to East Timor to check Indonesian troops movements in the territory, indicating that UN officials were regularly visiting both East Timor and Indonesia. We know his last visit was for 3 hours at the Bacau airport, flown in and attended by Indonesian military. We know that Tamrat Samuel was denied access to Alas. So this is still a pathetic response, no UN solution without UN 'peacekeepers' or 'monitors' can work, and we must have a timetable for a referendum or takeover.

The UN Secretary General and his special representative Mr Marker call on both sides to exercise restraint and act in a peaceful calm manner. In fact Mr Marker appears to have an obsession with the need for calm, calling on East Timorese youth to calm down whilst saying nothing about the blatant Indonesian military buildup, abuses, rapes, terror campaigns and murders which have been going on in the last few months.

Such calls equates East Timorese, who have been expressly denied their right to free expression by 23 years of illegal military occupation by Indonesia against UN Resolutions and Charter, as being equally responsible with the brutal military occupiers. Is that even handed, fair, pro-active and concerned for a just settlement?

On 22 July 1998 Reuters reported that U.N. special envoy Jamsheed Marker said that day that some Indonesian troops should be withdrawn from East Timor to build confidence there, but added a certain number would be necessary to maintain peace in the troubled territory.

"I think that the withdrawal of some troops will serve as a very important confidence building measure", he told an airport news conference at the end of a six-day visit to Indonesia. But he said it was obvious arrangements had to be made to maintain security and peace in the former Portuguese colony annexed by Indonesia in 1976. "For that purpose, a certain number of troops will be necessary. This is something that has to be worked out, but clearly all the troops cannot be withdrawn", he said.

Well, is that fair and reasonable? No, it is almost unbelievable. After 23 years of genocidal war, keep the perpetrators in place ... There is a double standard here. Did the UN allow some Iraqi troops to stay in Kuwait to maintain law and order and protect 'their' oil? Of course not.

The troops needed to maintain peace and to reestablish conditions of freedom MUST be UN peacekeepers. This is obvious and basic, and has been called for many times by many people, and importantly after Suharto resigned at the first big open meeting in Dili on 6th June. Why does the UN never canvass this option?

The Indonesian Government/Military has no good will at present towards freedoms in East Timor. The Indonesian Military controls East Timor, not the Habibie Government. It is their training ground, their killing fields, the sites and evidence of their darkest deeds, and also their special income base. Even in the last few months the Indonesian military have carried on like old times, and all the UN reps can say is: Well we have asked the Indons and they don't agree.

NO genuine freedoms can be established in East Timor whilst the Indonesian military is present on the ground.

Genuine autonomy is not possible with Indonesian troops present, let alone the autonomy offered by Habibie/Alatas with Indonesia controlling the finances, 'security' and foreign policy! This autonomy proposal being considered under UN and tripartite auspices, the ONLY proposal they are considering, leaves the Indonesian military in place in East Timor, leaves Indonesia controlling the finances (the 'balls' - and when the you've got someone by the balls their hearts and minds will surely follow), and foreign policy ie controlling access!

This is NOT autonomy - this is FARCE! The Emperor HAS NO clothes!

The UN special envoy says some Indonesian troops are needed to keep the peace. Thus he and thus the UN at present are arguing AGAINST meaningful rights to self-determination for the people of East Timor, and against the UN mandate and Resolutions, let alone its Charter. Thus he should be retired from his special envoy position - no further sell out!

The East Timorese, and we, must be satisfied with nothing less than full self-determination now, leading inevitably to INDEPENDENCE for East Timor, because there is no other meaningful alternative, and it is their legal, moral and historical right. We must get UN peacekeepers/observers present on the ground in East Timor as soon as possible to preserve current lives and human rights, and to make Independence feasible.

There is and has been for months NOTHING to stop the Indonesians showing their goodwill, if they have any which I doubt, by reducing troops, actively putting East Timorese into the public service, releasing all the East Timorese political prisoners including Xanana Gusmao, allowing unrestricted access to foreign embassies, UN figures, a UN office, further NGO's etc. Why not allow practical autonomy NOW, with Xanana Gusmao interim governor. Why does it require some UN agreement down the track to set these processes in motion? Answer: there is not the goodwill.

I fear that the UN is trying to stitch up a deal, any deal, to get it off the hook. Once there is some form of 'agreed autonomy' in place, that is agreed by 'leaders', (no consultation with the mass of the East Timorese people), then East Timor may well be off the agenda for ever. I'm with the students on this. (The young generation ie 15-30 year olds, must be brought into the decision making of the East Timorese by the East Timorese side, or the cause faces alienation and disaster).

East Timor was invaded by Indonesia, and the UN has told it to get out in Resolutions which are still valid. SO, a new and better proposal is the following:

1. Indonesia gets out of East Timor NOW, lock, stock and barrel. 2. The UN puts in place UN monitors/peacekeepers 3. The UN organises financial and logistic support for East Timor 4. After the time required (as stated now by Marker for political education etc), a referendum is held on the following questions for East Timor's future:

a. Stays Independent b. Joins Indonesia as an Autonomous region c. Joins Indonesia as a normal province (conferring the normal benefits of constant military abuse and civilian corruption) d. Any other option

What is wrong with that? THIS is the proposal which should be debated at the UN, not some fancy half-arsed autonomy offer from Alatas.

"In an interview with Associated Press this week, Marker admitted that a peaceful solution remains distant. But in a big step forward, he said, many separatist activists were no longer pressing for an immediate vote on independence. `They don't want independence tomorrow', Marker said."

Well, I wonder who are the 'many separatist activists'? How many students and ordinary members of the East Timorese population has Mr Marker asked or had surveyed? My information (from regET postings) is that 95% of the East Timorese population wants independence NOW. Who wants to wait 10 years, who can afford to, who will still be alive, how many East Timorese will die not in their own country?

It is reported that Habibie wants a deal stitched up by the next Presidential elections. To agree may be to play into his hands (read 'old Indonesian military/Suharto cronyism' hands).

It may be far better for East Timor to hold out for a decent deal, the sort we have argued for, (ie Indonesian troops all out, a short UN supervised period of stabilisation leading to a UN orgaised referendum), or nothing! (except more blood and tears I suppose).

I've never really subscribed to the slogan 'time is on our side', or 'victory is only a matter of time', due to the heavy consequences to so many of the population. However at present a lot of attention is on East Timor, and to agree to a sell-out deal when victory is in sight would be a tremendous mistake.

Courage, my friends. Victory is nigh, but must still be fought for, intelligently fought for ...

Rob Wesley-Smith Wes Ph + 61 8 89832113 0419 807 175 sometimes a spokesperson for affet

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