Subject: US Ambassador Urges Indon To Ban Militants From Timor

Dow Jones Newswires March 26, 2000

US Diplomat Urges Indonesia To Ban Militants From Timor

LETE FOHO, East Timor (AP)--A senior U.S. diplomat on Sunday urged Indonesia to remove pro-Jakarta militia leaders from the island of Timor.

"These people need to be removed physically from the island of Timor, and taken by the Indonesian government to other parts of the country," said Robert Gelbard, the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia.

Gelbard, who was in the town of Lete Foho, 100 kilometers south of Dili, also called for the Indonesian military to disband its East Timorese battalions.

Two East Timorese battalions have been implicated in the murder of hundreds of Timorese and of Dutch journalist Sander Thoenes in September.

The battalions fled across the border to Indonesian West Timor as international troops landed in East Timor to restore peace and security.

A month ago Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid, while visiting East Timor, assured the United Nations he would put an end to militia activity in West Timor. However, the militias continue to operate there.

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