|Subject: US: Jakarta Must Punish UN Staff
Killers Before Military Ties Resume
Also: Transcript: State's Kelly Discusses Conditions in East Timor
Jakarta must punish UN staff killers before military ties resume: US
JAKARTA, Aug 31 (AFP) - Indonesia must properly punish the killers of three UN workers before the United States can resume full military ties, a senior US official said Friday.
Visiting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, James Kelly, said Washington "very much wants to have a good relationship with Indonesia's military."
"But our Congress has put some limitations on us that would have to do for the accountability for some things that have happened in the past," Kelly said.
Most US military contacts were cut when Indonesian troops were implicated in the bloody militia rampage ignited by East Timor's vote for independence two years ago.
Kelly said one of the stumbling blocks for the resumption of military ties was Indonesia's lenient sentencing of six East Timorese militiamen for the brutal murder of three UN humanitarian staff -- including an American -- in Indonesian West Timor last September.
A Jakarta court in May found all six men not guilty of murder and instead sentenced them to between 20 and 10 months in jail for other minor crimes.
"The judicial remedies that were taken did not seem to be proportionate to the terrible nature of the crime," Kelly said.
"These problems need to have some progress before we can have full relationship with Indonesia's military that I hope will develop again before long."
The unarmed UNHCR staff -- an American, a Croatian and an Ethiopian -- were stoned, stabbed and beaten to death by a mob. Their bodies were set on fire.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees described the sentences at the time as "a mockery."
Kelly said he did not have a timetable for Washington to resume ties with Jakarta but it would be "something that we're gonna have to work out over time ... time is not completely gone now.
"There are some modest things that we're able to do together and I hope we can build on this over a period of time and be in a better state," he added.
Kelly was speaking at a press briefing following a courtesy call on Vice President Hamzah Haz.
He is the second senior American official to visit Indonesia after Trade Representative Robert Zoellick met President Megawati Sukarnoputri to convey Washington's strong support for her new government.
Megawati starts a visit to the United States on September 19.
Her visit looms as a campaign gathers pace for a renewal of US military links with Indonesia, which is thought to emanate from the Pentagon.
Office of International Information Programs, U.S.Dept. of State 30 August 2001
[transcript follows summary]
Transcript: State's Kelly Discusses Conditions in East Timor
(Cites "accountability issues" with Indonesia's military)
East Timor's people deserve the credit for the improvement in conditions surrounding elections in their homeland, says U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly.
Unlike two years ago, "there was a kind of determination, but there wasn't a tension" at the polls, Kelly said in an August 30 news conference in Dili, East Timor.
"It was just obvious that people were not afraid of something bad that was going to happen them," he added.
While Kelly spoke of continued involvement by the United States with East Timor's emerging democracy, he was less sanguine about U.S. ties to Indonesia's military. Kelly cited the role Indonesia's military has played in the violence and unrest that has beset East Timor as it struggled to emerge from rule by Jakarta, as well as the fallout in the U.S. Congress from the murder of an American citizen, Carlos Caceres, who was working for the United Nations in Atambua in Timor.
"Our Congress has made me aware, and has made officials of our State Department very much aware that there are serious accountability issues and that there really hasn't been progress on this from the Indonesian armed forces," Kelly told reporters.
An amendment sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (Democrat of Vermont) "very sharply limits any involvement" the United States can have with Indonesia's armed forces, Kelly said.
"That is a part of American law," he said.
Kelly noted that he has testified before Congress that "the Indonesian military is definitely a part of the problem of the past and it is also a part of the solution to the future."
That situation poses a dilemma for the United States, which at this time is unable by law to provide support for the Indonesian military, Kelly said, adding that the United States has no plans to "open the gates for across-the-board support to the Indonesian military."
Regarding assistance to East Timor, Kelly said the Bush administration plans to request Congress for money to continue aid programs for that nation.
Following is a transcript of the August 30 press conference:
James A. Kelly U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Dili, East Timor August 30, 2001
Kelly: This is the first trip I have had occasion to make to East Timor and to Dili. It has been a very enjoyable 24 hours and I'm looking forward to more meetings as we go on. As an American official in a situation that certainly has American interests, but in which we are not the major player, I will bias my remarks in an American direction and make a few comments as I begin. The election observer team involves many people from many governmental and non-governmental organizations. I am particularly delighted that Congressman Eni Faleomavaega is here representing the legislative side of the U.S. government, as well as many others.
While here, of course, I have had the opportunity for meetings with leaders of East Timor, including Mr. Gusmao, Dr. Ramos-Horta, Mr. Alkatiri, many others also from the international community here as well, including our own representatives. Steve Mull, who is the Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission in Jakarta has come with me. Tony Interlandi is our representative here on the ground in East Timor, along with a very significant presence from the U.S. Agency for International Development. I have learned myself in the couple of months, since returning to government as an official after 12 years out, that the U.S. has had an AID program here focused on coffee production for seven years. Last year our direct assistance into East Timor involved over US$60 million. This year, without the large food component, it is still almost US$30 million -- very significant aid. A very significant participation in building institutions to help this potentially infant country to get on its feet.
While here, also, I have had a chance to meet with the secretary-general's special representative, Mr. Vieira de Mello, also with the commanding general of the peacekeeping forces, General Boonsrang, our own Colonel Cooke, the head of the very small but I think very effective U.S. Port Element Group for East Timor, as well as a number of other Americans who have helped in an unsung way. One of our lawyers, Miss Thornton, working on the Serious Crimes Unit, seconded from the Department of Justice; Dr. Nina Bowen, who is working very hard on a number of the assistance programs we have here in East Timor. And so, in that sense, it has been an orientation for me to what the U.S. is doing here in East Timor, and I have found it extremely gratifying.
The other introduction is to the situation on the ground in East Timor. For those of you who were here two years ago, much better than I can say I am sure you understand just how different this is. This morning we went to five or six different polling places, all exceptionally crowded, all with lots and lots of people waiting in the most patient way. There was not a holiday atmosphere. We drove by the beach and didn't see a soul there. I don't think you can say that on Election Day in the U.S.A.
There was a kind of determination, but there wasn't a tension. It was just obvious that people were not afraid of something bad that was going to happen them. I think we would be remiss if we didn't give the credit for how much better this is from the terrible situation of a couple of years ago. There are many who deserve that credit, but none more than the East Timorese themselves. I think it just had to be experienced to be believed, and I look forward to going back to Washington, D.C. and imparting these thoughts and ideas to colleagues in the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government and certainly to members of the Congress. With that little introduction, I'll be happy to take your questions on that or anything you would wish.
Q: Is it important for you to have parts of the U.S. Navy at the East Timorese island of Atauro? Did you discuss that with Gusmao?
Kelly: A branch of the U.S. Navy where? Not only did I not discuss it, I've never heard of it. A U.S. Navy base? No, it is out of sight and out of mind. There are certainly no plans of any sort that I'm aware of for any kind of U.S. Naval base here in East Timor.
Q: It was reported in German newspapers a couple of weeks ago...(inaudible)
Kelly: Tony, have I missed something? An official is probably mistaken to give unqualified denials but I will give an unqualified blow-off to that story. That is total fiction.
Q: There have been reports that the U.S. military has been using the Timor Trench out there, which is three and-a-half thousand meters deep, as one of the ways to get into the Pacific Ocean. Can you comment on that? U.S. subs?
Kelly: No, I cannot. First of all I'm not well informed. I'm not sure that American subs necessarily do use the Timor Trench. I'm sorry, I just don't know anything about it. Even if I did, I don't think we would comment about where American naval ships go in international waters or international straits.
Q: Will the U.S. Government be pushing the Indonesian Government to bring to justice the militiamen who killed--I think his name was Carlos Caceres-in Atambua last September? Nothing has been done so far. I think a few people were sentenced...
Kelly: Except a trial that was absurd.
Q: Which was ridiculous, yes. Will you be talking about this with President Megawati?
Kelly: I am not sure I will be talking about it to President Megawati, but I am sure I will be talking to it with senior members of the Indonesian Government. It is an ongoing problem, one of several problems. Our Congress has made me aware and has made officials of our State Department very much aware that there are serious accountability issues and that there really hasn't been progress on this from the Indonesian armed forces.
Q: It is likely that Fretilin will win a majority of seats as a result of this election. How will the U.S. Government feel about working with a majority Fretilin assembly given the history that the U.S. was opposed to Fretilin in 1975?
Kelly: Whatever the case in 1975, our commitment is now to democracy and a democratic process, the results of this constituent assembly election and the constitution that then is developed here. Our interest is in transparency in the development of real democracy in East Timor. I think we are going to have to wait and see what kind of government emerges here to react to it. There are many promising signs now, I might add.
Q: What are the chances of the United States renewing military ties with Indonesia in the near future? Secondly, what kind of support will the United States be giving to an independent East Timor bearing in mind that it will be dependent on foreign aid for at least five years after independence?
Kelly: The first question was affected by my answer earlier to that business about accountability for the murder of American citizen, Mr. Caceres, who was working for the UN in Atambua. The Leahy Amendment requires the U.S., even if it were not otherwise inclined, to...it very sharply limits any involvement we can have with the TNI. That is a part of American law and it is something that is very important as well. I have testified in the past about the fact that the Indonesian military is definitely a part of the problem of the past and it is also a part of the solution to the future. So that poses a real dilemma. Without a doubt, we are not going to be able to, and have no plans to open the gates for across-the-board support to the Indonesian military. That is a problem.
With respect to assistance to East Timor, as I pointed out, we have had this assistance in the past, subject, of course, to the American Congress. We expect to be requesting it in the future. We are not the only ones involved in that process, but to the extent that the good news we may see today continues, that is the real essence of the task here. We are going to look to being part of helping out. There is a lot that has been accomplished here by the East Timorese, and there is ever so much that faces them, as you recognized in that question.
Q: In your meetings this morning with the Timorese leaders, did you discuss a possible international tribunal for crimes against humanity, and if a request did come to the UN Security Council what would be the position of the U.S. Government on that?
Kelly: That is a hypothetical question I am not going to get into. We did have discussions about accountability for the past. I heard some--what I thought were very thoughtful--comments that came from particularly leaders here on East Timor about their thoughts on that. This remains a problem. I am looking forward to consulting with colleagues and others in the U.S. Government about which is the best way to pursue that sort of a solution. Bygones really cannot by bygones in the case of some of the crimes that were committed. Thank you very much.
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