Subject: CONG: Feingold-Reed Letter
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 14:39:05 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <email@example.com>
United States Senate Washington, DC
June 12, 1998
The Honorable Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie
Dear Mr. President,
As you know, for many years there has been increasing concern in the United States Congress over the tragic plight of East Timor. Recent events in Indonesia raise that concern to a higher level, along with hopes for change in East Timor.
We have noted with interest your recent offer to grant "special status" to East Timor and your release of some East Timorese political prisoners in exchange for an end to resistance by the people of that region. However, we believe the time is ripe for more significant steps.
In keeping with your announced commitment to political reform in Indonesia generally, there is now a great opportunity for your government to enter into a serious dialogue with the people of East Timor, including Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo and other Timorese leaders. Bishop Belo has long stated that in order to minimize human rights abuses, there should be an immediate and genuine reduction in the Indonesian military presence in East Timor. We believe that such a gesture, along with a demonstration of respect for Timorese freedom of speech and assembly can have a great impact if carried out soon. Of course, the most important gesture you can make is the release without pre-conditions of all East Timorese prisoners, including resistance leader Xanana Gusmao.
Finally. but most importantly, there is a great historical opportunity to achieve a just political settlement on East Timor. A speedy resolution to the East Timor problem, based on the freely expressed wishes of the people of East Timor through a referendum under United Nations supervision, would be in the best long-term interest of the people of Indonesia and East Timor and Indonesians relations with the world community.
Russell D. Feingold