|Subject: US Military Chief: Indonesia Army
Must Be Held Accountable
Associated Press March 30, 2000
US Military Chief: Indonesia Army Must Be Held Accountable
SINGAPORE (AP)--The U.S.'s chief military commander for the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas set down Friday conditions for the resumption of military ties between the U.S. and Indonesia, before his visit to Jakarta next week.
Adm. Dennis Cutler Blair, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, said Indonesia needed to make members of its military accountable for the violence in East Timor following last year's vote for independence.
"We need to see progress in the accountability for the actions following the referendum of last August, in which there was some very bad behavior by elements of TNI (the military) who were in East Timor," he told reporters at a media briefing.
Following the independence vote, pro-Jakarta militia and elements of the Indonesian military went on a rampage of murder and destruction in East Timor.
Refugees who fled or were forced into West Timor by the violence needed to be able to return to East Timor without recrimination, Blair said.
He said that those who decided to stay should be "moved into a more permanent situation so that you don't have a breeding ground for this militia activity, which works its way across the border."
U.N. officials estimate there are still about 120,000 refugees in West Timor. Most are living in squalid camps without enough food, poor health care and with the constant threat of violence.
"It's those two areas we're looking for progress on before we can get back to a full military to military relationship," Blair said.
Blair was last in Jakarta for only a few hours in early September when he met with then military chief General Wiranto to inform him that military ties between the two countries had been cut.
"My visit (next week) signifies that we are at least within talking range so some progress has been definitely made," he said.
Note: For those who would like to fax "the powers that be" - CallCenter V3.5.8, is a Native 32-bit Voice Telephony software application integrated with fax and data communications... and it's free of charge! Download from http://www.v3inc.com/