|Subject: Boyce: world is watching E.Timor
trials; comments on Exxon Mobil suit
Received from Joyo Indonesia News
U.S. envoy says world is watching E.Timor trials
JAKARTA, Aug 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. ambassador to Indonesia warned Jakarta on Wednesday America and the world were closely watching East Timor human rights trials and the result would help determine if full U.S.-Indonesia military ties are restored.
Speaking at a media briefing to follow up last week's visit by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Ambassador Ralph Boyce also said he hoped Indonesia did not misinterpret a $50 million police and military aid package as a sign relations had been normalised.
"We are watching the process very carefully, attending in many cases the daily (East Timor trial) sessions, and look forward to see what immediate results will be in the first round," Boyce told reporters.
"The timing of the first round of cases that are coming to a conclusion now, and our own legislative timetable, by definition is going to carry a great deal of weight and as I have said many times...the world is watching."
The United States largely cut military ties with Jakarta following a wave of violence that swept East Timor when it voted to break from Indonesian rule in 1999.
The U.S. has said Indonesia must account for what happened in East Timor before full ties would be renewed.
But the East Timor trials, which began earlier this year at Jakarta's new human rights court, have already drawn strong criticism from rights groups who say they are flawed mainly because top military officials have escaped prosecution.
The United Nations estimates more than 1,000 people died at the hands of pro-Jakarta militia backed by the Indonesian military.
"It's very important for our Indonesian friends not to misread the signs and to somehow assume that we have accomplished the resumption of normal military-to-military relations," Boyce said.
He also strongly defended the U.S. position on human rights following a negative reaction from rights groups to the $50 million package, most of which would go to the police rather than the army.
He also said comments from the U.S. State Department this week over a human rights-related lawsuit filed by Indonesian villagers against Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) should not be misconstrued.
"Earlier today I was asked...is it true that the United States is so focused on counter-terrorism that it is going to minimise or not pay attention to democracy and human rights.
"I honestly believe that attention to promotion of democracy and to the upholding of human rights is even more important, frankly, in the war on terrorism, and so I just don't accept that notion at all."
U.S. State Department legal adviser William Taft had said in a letter to a court handling the case that the Exxon Mobil lawsuit could hurt the war on terror.
According to the Financial Times newspaper, the case was filed by the International Labour Rights Fund on behalf of 11 villagers in the northern province of Aceh who claim Exxon Mobil paid and directed Indonesian security forces that murdered, tortured and raped as they protected the firm's operations in the 1990s.
Exxon Mobil has denied the allegations.
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