Subject: US calls Indon's failure to control Timor militia a disgrace

US calls militia activity in East Timor a disgrace

By Evelyn Leopold

UNITED NATIONS, April 27 (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday called Indonesia's failure to control Timorese militia a disgrace while Britain rapped the U.N. bureaucracy for moving too slowly in rebuilding East Timor.

Envoys from both countries told a Security Council debate that progress had been made on all fronts by Indonesia and the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor, known as UNTAET. But they said delays in implementing promises could undo what is expected to become a U.N. success story.

``Frustration among the local population will increase if UNTAET is not seen to be delivering quickly enough,'' British ambassador Stewart Eldon said.

The United Nations is ushering East Timor to independence, a land devastated by rampaging militia last year. Most Timorese are unemployed and resent amenities of international workers.

The militia, backed by the Indonesian army, conducted a scorched earth campaign in East Timor after nearly 80 percent of voters in a U.N.-organised poll taken in August favoured independence from Jakarta. Indonesia invaded the territory in 1975 after the departure of its Portuguese colonialists.

The gangs also forced more than 200,000 people to flee to the Indonesian western half of the island, where some 100,000 of them still remain in camps.

``I can only conclude that it is a disgrace and needs to be dealt with,'' U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke said. ``The government must end, once and for all, any TNI (Indonesian army) collaboration that still exists with the militia.''

Holbrooke said it was hard to believe that there were still refugees in West Timor after they had been herded there some six months ago. He said many were not returning because

of ``disinformation, lies and fears'' and those who did not want to go home should leave the camps entirely.

Holbrooke, as well as other ambassadors complimented Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid for travelling to East Timor and for trying to resolve many outstanding issues.

``But let us not forget that good intentions are not sufficient,'' he said.

Holbrooke and Eldon said the U.N. bureaucracy as well as the World Bank had to move faster to bolster UNTAET and meet some of the expectations of the Timorese, who are eager to join a civil service for lack of jobs elsewhere.

Specifically, Eldon said paperwork was delayed for a second tranche of British contributions for East Timor and in processing British nominations of forensic investigators.

Hedi Annabi, the U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping, said UNTAET had organised quick impact projects to repair the local infrastructure which employs more than 2,700 Timorese. It was also launching projects with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

But he warned civil service jobs might be growing too fast. ``A drastic expansion of this recruitment might provide limited, temporary relief,'' he said. ``But it would create a public sector that this small country would not be able to sustain.''

In February, the U.N. administrator for East Timor, Sergio Vieira de Mello, appealed for promised monies to be released quickly by the World Bank and others, alarmed at social unrest among youthful unemployed in the territory.

The United States has suspended ties to the Indonesian military until the East Timor problem is resolved. Holbrooke has been one of the few diplomats to criticise publicly the Jakarta government on East Timor since Wahid, a champion of democratic reforms, took office in October.

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