Subject: Europe to lift military embargo on Indonesia

Indonesian Observer October 26, 2000

Europe to lift military embargo on Indonesia

MAKASSAR (IO) - A British government official says the European Union (EU) will lift its military embargo on Indonesia at the beginning of next year.

British Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister John Battle yesterday told reporters in Makassar, South Sulawesi, that his country had not lobbied for the arms embargo that was imposed after pro-Jakarta militias hacked to death and burned three foreign UN aid workers in Atambua, West Timor, on September 6.

"The embargo will end soon. It will be lifted in early January 2001," Battle said after a meeting with South Sulawesi Governor Masnawi.

"Britain did not purposely embargo Indonesia. It was a policy of the EU, of which we are a member."

The British government has sent a letter to the Indonesian Embassy in London, apologizing for the embargo.

Britain had acted in solidarity with other EU members in September when it decided to delay military aid and training to Jakarta.

Battle was yesterday asked about the delayed delivery of three Hawk 100/200 combat aircraft that Indonesia had purchased from British Aerospace.

The jet fighters are reportedly stranded in Bangkok, Thailand, as British pilots refused to fly them to Indonesia following the bloodbath in Atambua.

The Hawks had been due to arrive on September 22 and would have been stationed in Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara province.

Western countries expressed concern over the Atambua killings and said that Indonesia should not be allowed to buy military equipment because it had created the murderous East Timorese militias and was unwilling or unable to disarm them. There were also fears the fighter jets would have been used to bomb the people of East Timor.

The Hawk 100/200 is equipped with heavy ordnance, including powerful cluster bombs, smart bombs, and the AIM 9 sidewinder - a combat proven air- to-air missile.

Foreign Affairs Minister Alwi Shihab has denied the jet fighters will be use to attack East Timor. He said they would be used only to protest the nation's sovereignty.

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